ATHENS – SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance leader Alexis Tsipras launched an attack on the government for its policy of high energy bills for households and committed to reestablishing the public nature of the Public Power Corporation (PPE) when he comes to power, in an interview during the prime time news program of Alpha TV on Wednesday.
“Households cannot manage. The critical issue is whether it will be the taxpayers who pay for the measures or whether he [Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis] will reduce the profit margin of companies, whether he will take measures to reduce profiteering,” the main opposition leader said. “Based on our calculations, there are over 1.5 billion euros in excessive profit the last nine months” by PPC, he added. Tsipras also blamed the regulatory authority for delaying intervening. Generally, the question is, he said, “do we want a company that distributes profits to the golden boys, and bonuses of 16 million euros, when households are ravaged, or a company that creates social benefit?”
When Syriza comes to power again, he asserted, “we will bring back the public nature of PPC for society’s benefit. It is not necessary to renationalize PPC. We have, as state, the deterrent minority and can reclaim the initiative by establishing an administration that does not aim at plunder. The public can retain more than 34%. PPC will not have a profit of 950 million euros pre-tax; there will be a ceiling to profits and to other producers as well.”
Tsipras said the government was responsible for a series of wrong policies not just in electricity bills but in the coronavirus pandemic, the economy, labor laws and people who work without the protection of legislation and controls.
Asked to comment on Greek-Turkish relations and the PM’s upcoming official visit to the United States this month, the main opposition leader expressed “great concern over global developments, as the war is not ending” in Ukraine. “There is a threat for its spread, even a nuclear threat, something that did not exist a few months ago. We are also seeing the upgrading of Turkey’s role. Also, despite the Mitsotakis-Erdogan meeting, we see Turkey persisting in its provocations, calling for the demilitarization of the Greek islands,” he added, referring to Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan with Mitsotakis.
“The government is handing everything over to the Americans and the allies, and giving to the Americans the bases indefinitely, we send arms to Ukraine,” he added, while Turkey is getting upgraded and receiving F-16s “so they can fly over the Greek islands.” He also criticized France for “not speaking up about Turkey’s provocations,” adding that “an ally cannot stand both with you and with the one who threatens you.” The stance Mitsotakis holds “poses dangers” and he should not keep it to appease Washington. Instead, he said, the premier should demand of Washington that it does not provide Turkey with F-16s and that Greece and Cyprus get security guarantees over Turkey.
Tsipras also said he agreed with the measures against Russia after invading Ukraine “in order to end the war,” but noted that if sanctions hurt the one imposing them, they must be reevaluated. “If we want to impose an embargo on Russian natural gas when we rely on it for 40% of our needs, then I wonder how we will manage in winter. European countries should not find themselves in a worse position than Russia,” he pointed out.
Asked to comment on why he insisted on snap elections, he said the reason was that “I am afraid when I see a government that moves without logic,” and charged the government with being “interested only in completing its tenure in power, and it may leave social and economic ruins behind it.” A progressive government can provide a plan for a social salvation and the economy’s recovery, he asserted.