Alexis Tsipras, leader of Greece’s main opposition party left-wing SYRIZA, published an open letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel via British The Guardian. Sharply criticizing the bailout program, the vicious circle austerity and recession, Tsipras calls on Merkel to change this devastating policies, “the disastrous political and economic path” that applies also to Spain, Portugal and Italy.
Angela Merkel will find Greece in its fifth consecutive year of recession that was deepened through the bailout program.
“These policies are devastating the Greek people, especially workers, pensioners, small businessmen and women, and of course young people. The Greek economy has contracted by more than 22%, workers and pensioners have lost 32% of their income, and unemployment has reached an unprecedented 24% with youth unemployment at 55%. Austerity policies have led to cuts in benefits, the deregulation of the labour market and the further deterioration of the limited welfare state that had survived a neoliberal onslaught.
All this is known to the European and Greek policymakers and elites, including Merkel, who aim to implement similar programmes in all European countries facing debt problems, such as Spain, Portugal and Italy. Why do they insist so dogmatically on this disastrous political and economic path? We believe that their aim is not to solve the debt crisis but to create a new regulatory framework throughout Europe that is based on cheap labour, deregulation of the labour market, low public spending and tax exemptions for capital. To succeed, this strategy uses a form of political and financial blackmail that aims to convince or coerce Europeans to accept austerity packages without resistance. The politics of fear and blackmail used in Greece is the best illustration of this strategy.”
Alexis Tsipras also addresses the European taxpayers explaining that the bailout money is not used to pay salaries and pensions, but solely to repay loans, interest rates and the recapitalization of the banks.
“My party, Syriza-United Social Front, respects the ordinary European taxpayer who is asked to shoulder loans to countries in distress, including Greece. The European citizens should know, however, that loans to Greece are paid into an “escrow” account and are used exclusively to repay past loans and to re-capitalise near bankrupt private banks. The money cannot be used to pay salaries and pensions, or to buy basic medicine for hospitals and milk for schools. The precondition for these loans is even more austerity, paralysing the Greek economy and increasing the possibility of default. If there is a risk of European taxpayers losing their money, it is created by austerity.”
“Europe needs a new plan to deepen European integration,” concludes Tsipras, and it should give priority to the needs of workers, pensioners and the unemployed.
Full Letter The Guardian
PS priority should be given also to the youth, a generation without work and hope, I would add…