Why did Jose Manuel Barroso threaten Greece with euro exit right after May 6 elections? Reuters claims that the president of the European Commission made this statement after caretaker prime minister Lucas Papademos asked him to do so – in an effort to build a dam against Alexis Tsipras.
According to Reuters report:
But it is not just those views that EU leaders must try to hold in check ahead of June 17 – there is also pressure from inside Greece to be more outspoken, and that can backfire too.
In an interview with Italian television on May 11, Barroso, the president of the European Commission, was asked what he thought of Tsipras’s plans to tear up the bailout agreement.
“Look,” he said, “if a member of a club does not respect the rules, it’s better that it leaves the club, and this is true for any organization or institution or any project.”
Even though he did not name the country, his comments were taken as referring to Greece and made it look as if a Greek exit from the euro was drawing closer. Financial markets were thrown into panic, Greeks were outraged and Barroso was criticized.
But what was particularly galling about the incident for Barroso was that he had never intended to make such a strong statement. He did so only because he got a call from Greece’s caretaker prime minister, Lucas Papademos, asking him to do so, a Commission official said.
Frustrated at the failing efforts to form a coalition after the May 6 election, Papademos wanted Barroso to say something strong in the hope it might wake Greece’s political leaders up.
“It wasn’t Barroso’s initiative. It was a direct request,” said the Commission official informed of the sequence of events, adding with a degree of understatement: “It didn’t work.” (further reading REUTERS)
Later on Wednesday, Lucas Papademos categorically dismissed the Reuters claims. “I never asked anybody to make any statement neither did I speak on my own initiative with anyone those days” Papademos told TO VIMA adding “Some want to create a problem.”
Hand-in-hand against Tsipras?
A strong reaction came from Alexis Tsipras who commented “The big enemy is not our partner sin Europe but the local power who are in contact with the centers in Brussels. We are sorry for their plight.”
As Barroso is currently holding a press conference, it is expected that journalists will ask him on the issue….
Ps The games are getting more and more tricky; one does not know who and what to believe anymore…