BERLIN – “The success for a left party is not only the exit from the crisis, but the exit from the crisis with the least possible losses for the weakest people, the poor, the middle class, the workers and the youth,” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Saturday addressing the SPD conference in Berlin.
“Success does not have the same meaning for a right party and a left party. And this difference is essential,” he added.
“When I was faced with the biggest dilemma that a prime minister could ever be faced with in July 2015, what helped me make difficult decisions was when, with a clear mind, I estimated the consequences of any political choice on the social forces that the left had to represent and defend,” Tsipras said.
“Greece defaulted because of the systematic theft of wealth and goods for the benefit of an elite who had managed to increase its wealth in overseas banks,” he said and added:
“Therefore, the choice of exiting the euro and returning to the national currency, which may sounded as a highly revolutionary and leftist choice, was in fact the choice of the popular and middle classes’ total destruction to the benefit of this elite. For this reason, we chose a difficult compromise.”
“But we never lost our orientation: we always had in mind who we were fighting for, who we were negotiating for in a challenging European environment in terms of political correlations,” he explained.
“And today, I feel that we have succeeded and have been right about our difficult choices not only because we have avoided the total disaster, not only because we have managed to restructure public finances and achieve surpluses,” he noted and added:
“We have managed to do so while having reduced unemployment by 8 percentage points, having offered free access to health services to 2.5 million uninsured fellow citizens who were excluded.”
“We have established the minimum guaranteed income for all citizens facing extreme poverty and the humanitarian crisis. We have supported the state, we have achieved a difficult, but fair social security reform, we have restored normality to hospitals and universities,” he said.
“This is our success,” Tsipras stressed.
“The Social Democrats and the Left must meet on the basis of a progressive plan for the 21st century in Europe,” the Greek prime minister underlined.
“Such a strategy can stop the upsurge of extreme right, nationalism and xenophobia,” he said, adding: “We need political courage to take this step. Because it primarily needs self-criticism. The example of Portugal and Spain is the practical proof that Social Democracy and the Left can and must work together on the basis of a cooperation for the benefit of social majority.”