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Tsipras Pledges to “Keep Greece in the Euro Zone and Restore Growth” in Op-Ed to FT

Four days before the June 17 elections and while Germany and Austria raises their tones to influence Greek voters and cast their votes for pro-bailout parties, Alexis Tsipras, the leader of left-wing SYRIZA pledges to “keep Greece in the euro zone and restore growth”. In an op-ed to Financial Times, Alexis Tsipras reiterates also to re-negotiate the bailout agreement saying that “The people of Greece want to replace the failed old memorandum of understanding”.  Although SYRIZA recently lowered its tones and seems to refrain from full confrontation with the EU and the IMF. However the party’s line is clear: re-negotiation of the MoU.

” I will keep Greece in the eurozone and restore growth

By Alexis Tsipras

Lest there be any doubt, my movement – Syriza – is committed to keeping Greece in the eurozone.

President Barack Obama was right when he said last Friday: “Let’s do everything we can to grow now, even as we lock in a long-term plan to stabilise our debt and our deficits, and start bringing them down in a steady, sensible way.” That applies to my country, too. The need for giving Greece a chance for real growth and a new future is now more widely accepted than ever.

I strongly believe we will get a clear democratic mandate from the people of the Hellenic Republic on Sunday. With that mandate we will take immediate action to end Greece’s corrupt and inefficient political and regulatory systems that have ravaged our economy over the past decades. The people of Greece also expect us to take immediate responsibility for averting the country’s evolving humanitarian crisis.

Syriza is the only political movement in Greece today that can deliver economic, social and political stability for our country. The stabilisation of Greece in the short term will benefit the eurozone at a critical juncture in the evolution of the single currency. If we do not change our path, austerity threatens to force us out of the euro with even greater certainty.

Only Syriza can guarantee Greek stability because we do not carry the political baggage of the establishment parties that have brought Greece to the brink of ruin. It is for this reason that voters support our commitment to pulling our country back from the edge of destruction. We will set Greece on a new path to growth through transparent government. A renewed Greece will contribute to the new foundations of a closer, more unified Europe. Developments in Spain at the weekend confirm that the crisis is pan-European, and the way it has been handled so far has been completely ineffectual.

The people of Greece want to replace the failed old memorandum of understanding (as signed in March with the EU and International Monetary Fund) with a “national plan for reconstruction and growth”. This is necessary both to avert Greece’s humanitarian crisis and to save the common currency.

The systemic fiscal problems of Greece are, in large part, a problem of low public revenues. Myriad tax concessions and exemptions granted to special interests by previous administrations, along with a low effective tax rate on personal income as well as capital, explain much of the problem. So too does the highly ineffective method of tax collection.

According to Eurostat, Greece lags behind the eurozone average of government revenue as a percentage of gross domestic product by 4 per cent. The two-party political system has spent decades conveniently ignoring the dire need for effective tax reform. It has focused its tax collection efforts on the one exhaustible source of income tax: middle and low-income households.

Under our plan for reconstruction and growth, we are committed to following a programme of pragmatic and socially just fiscal stabilisation. The structure of this programme consists of: stabilising public expenditure at approximately 44 per cent of GDP and reorientating this expenditure to ensure it is well spent; increasing revenues from direct taxation to the average European levels (by more than 4 per cent of GDP) over a four-year period; and reforming the tax regime so as to identify the wealth and income of all citizens, and to distribute equitably the burden of taxation.

Lack of financial transparency prevails, even as Greek banks are being recapitalised with loans from the troika (the EU, IMF and European Central Bank). We will ensure that viable banks are recapitalised transparently and in a way that is fully compatible with the public interest. That is the only way to ensure that the entire financial system is returned to full stability.

Arthur Miller once wrote that “an era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted”. The basic illusion of good Greek government under the old regime of a two-party system has been exhausted. It is now totally incapable of ensuring our country’s return to growth and full participation in the eurozone. This Sunday we will bring Greece into a new era of growth and prosperity.

The new era begins on Monday.”

It’s is not only SYRIZA what insists on renegotiation of MoU but also ND and PASOK. No matter who will be the winner on June 17, the MoU would be a challenge for all sides involved …

BTW: Greek media  claim that the Troika would ask the written commitment of Alexis Tsipras  -as Prime Minister or opposition leader – in order to release the next bailout aid tranche. The Troika had asked the written commitment of Antonis Samaras (ND) while he was opposition leader last winter. 

 

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23 comments

  1. “The systemic fiscal problems of Greece are, in large part, a problem of low public revenues. Myriad tax concessions and exemptions granted to special interests by previous administrations, along with a low effective tax rate on personal income as well as capital, explain much of the problem. So too does the highly ineffective method of tax collection.

    According to Eurostat, Greece lags behind the eurozone average of government revenue as a percentage of gross domestic product by 4 per cent. The two-party political system has spent decades conveniently ignoring the dire need for effective tax reform. It has focused its tax collection efforts on the one exhaustible source of income tax: middle and low-income households.”

    Wow. To hear such words from a Greek politician brings almost tears of joy into my eyes. Tsipras is my hero! Let’s hope Syriza wins an absolute majority.

    Funny thing is: Ms Lagarde said the same thing some time ago. She got a full load of hatred from Greeks, Mr Tsipras gets the votes.

  2. Sorry, but you have the Mme Lagarde bit wrong. This woman lashed out at Joe Soap in the streets of Athens to stop whinging about not being able to feed his kids, and told him to pay his taxes. She never said anything about the chosen few with tax exemptions etc. She wouldn’t though would she? Mme Lagarde is being paid an obscene amount of money (for doing what actually?), doesn’t pay a red cent tax herself, anywhere, and is in fact under investigation in her home country on 2 counts of alleged tax related offences, for amounts enough to keep Greece as a nation going for a few months. But even irrespective of all that, she was extremely rude, crude and highly offensive not just in what she said, but how she said it. And there is never any call for that, it just polarizes the situation even further.

  3. Exactly! Tsipras is the first to have commented correctly on the Greek mess. In comparison, that crook Papandreou spent all his time on foreign TV whining that he was PM of a corrupt country where people didn’t pay their taxes. He conveniently forget to mention that all of his wealth is from his corrupt father, that most poor people do pay their taxes, and those who have cheated the country of tax revenues are the rich and super-rich. Strange, how he forget to mention that. Also strange is how all of the EU countries and the USA were so happy to work with this guy. The same goes for Samaras.

  4. Schaeuble: Greek vote won’t alter country’s crisis

    Greece’s election results won’t change the reality of the country’s economic crisis and won’t prevent the nation from carrying out painful reforms, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told Stern magazine.

    Greeks on June 17 “can vote however they want,” Schaeuble told the German magazine in an interview on Wednesday. “But whatever election result we have will change nothing about the actual situation in the country, which is in a painful crisis brought on by a decades-long flawed economy.”
    http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite1_1_13/06/2012_446787

  5. Well said. Strange that ND also seems to have plenty of votes too… it seems that people have forgotten how much more they took than PASOK, as they were in government many more years!
    But, promises, promises! Let’s see how SYRIZA copes with the corrupt system and if they can really instigate a change on that level. If we are going to survive we need to start cleaning from the bottom up…

  6. Greece tax income is 33.2% of GDP when the 27 countries average is 39.6% and the 17 country average is 40% BUT Greece does not have an organised social welfare system like the HartzIV system in Germany that pays for rent, utilities, health care, educational expenses, transportation expenses, etc of the recipients. Greek maternity leave is only 3 months and unemployment insurance only 6 months and really hard to get. So the tax collected reflects the expenses.

  7. keeptalkinggreece

    I wonder if the ‘idealism’ of Syriza will manage to break this corrupt Greek system.

  8. I don’t expect much. Just to remain in power for more than a day, Tsipras will have to compromise on everything, include both Pasok and ND mafia in powerful positions, and then will be unable to deliver what he is now promising.

    Still, I would vote Syriza if I could vote. The alternatives are worse.

  9. Schauble is right. A vote, whichever way it goes, on June 17th isn’t magically going to repair things. BUT, where Schauble, Merkel, Junckers and the whole nest of EU bigwigs get it wrong is that a vote away from ND/PASOK on June 17th will give the country A CHANCE to get out of the mess it’s in. Where they also prove themselves to be just a bunch of parasitic self-serving neo-liberals is in their insistance on both telling the Greeks how they should vote and refusing to cooperate if the vote goes the other way. If they were serious about “helping Greece” etc, they would shut their traps, tells their media friends to stop the witch hunt and wait until GREECE as decide who GREECE wants as their government, and then work with however the GREEK PEOPLE put in place instead of insisting on the same bunch of muppets being voted in to serve the needs of Schauble, Merkel & Co Inc.

  10. I believe we are all wondering about that KTG. Let’s keep our fingers crossed. It HAS to start sometime.

  11. The relative popularity of ND is one of the things that I do not understand. Pasok received its well-deserved losses but ND still has the chance to emerge as the leading party. Like they would be any better than Pasok. Like people totally forgot who ND is and where they come from. I’d say any vote which is not a ND/Pasok vote is a good vote (except Chrysi Avgi of course).

  12. keeptalkinggreece

    well… you know, Greeks are conservatives…

  13. It would be wrong to discard Alexis Tsipras on the basis of prejudices. The man has a lot to offer and some of his offerings are quite interesting and plausible. It would also be wrong to vote for him because on one point is hopelessly mistaken: his belief that the Greek government and state can be part of the solution (instead of being part of the problem).

    http://klauskastner.blogspot.gr/2012/06/why-one-could-vote-for-alexis-tsipras.html

  14. Schaubel is a manipulative hardline neoliberal who will say anything that serves his political agenda. The best thing to do with people like that is to end their political careers; the second best is to ignore them.

  15. keeptalkinggreece

    well said, but the moment one party climbs the gov stairs it becomes …the ‘system’ if fought against. Unavoidable. Unless, you’re called Samaras, who claimed to be main opposition leader, while he was part of Papademos coalition gov.

  16. keeptalkinggreece

    @Guest you previous comment was deleted. ‘moderate your tone’ and it will be in again.

  17. Doubt their is much left to discuss with Europe. Only what kind of default it gonne be. A orderley default where Europe will help Greece with emergency aid threw the coming years or an chaotic default. Dont think Europe wants chaos on its borders. This should have been done years ago. Then in 2 or 3 years time the Greek economy will start to grow again. Time is running out fast, i just hope Greece has an emergency plan ready cause it not gonne be pritty coming years.

  18. keeptalkinggreece

    no emergency plan available, I’m afraid.

  19. I don’t know which you deleted. Please email it to me, also saying what you object to. Thanks.

  20. keeptalkinggreece

    it is deleted, it had some bad words lol

  21. The emergency funds were given with the two bailouts, with the promises to reform a dysfunctional system. We screwed that up already. The system is so dysfunctional to the core that it could not salvage what is left of the country. The likely thing that will happen once we are out of the EZ and probably the EU is the chaos that ensues from an angry and delusional large public sector and youth. Very likely anarchy followed by martial law. But I think even the military is too disorganized to bring things back to order. We’ll probably become Europe’s Darfur. I hope I’m being too pessimistic! Δε βαριέσε, ΥΓΕΙΑ νά’χουμε!

  22. keeptalkinggreece

    lol

  23. Repat, I notice Greeks say, Health first as you say, but when I was short of money in the taxi once and I said I could pay with my good health, the taxi driver wasn’t impressed.