The impossible seems possible: Alexis Tsipras, leader of Greek main opposition party left-wing SYRIZA and the International Monetary Fund seem to have agreed that the Greek austerity program cannot succeed and therefore a new debt haircut is inevitable. After meeting with IMF officials in Washington, Tsipras told reporters that “cutting salaries in the private sector was not the choice of IMF” but the one of the Greek governments.
“Cutting of salaries in private sector, in particularly the 13th and 14th salaries [(Xmas, Eastern& vacation bonuses] were never the IMF’s choice. a facts that confirmas our fears and our estimations that Greek governments first hidded in the drawers the lists of tax evaders in order to avoid paying taxes and second they did them the favor to cut the 13th and 14th salaries so they can reduce their expenditure.” (via TA NEA)
Tsipras met with IMF Deputy Director, David Lipton, in the presence of Paul Thomsen, responsible for the Greek programme, and other IMF officials.
According to Greek-American website Greek News Online,
“SYRIZA had the opportunity to outline to the IMF leadership its objections at the inelegant and unfair way that the Fund involved in Greek domestic politics in its last report. “The Greek programme is not at risk by democracy. Democracy can provide a way out,” Tsipras said.
After the end of the meeting between Tsipras and the IMF officials, an IMF representative said “Mr. David Lipton, the first deputy managing director of the IMF and Mr. Alexis Tsipras, leader of the political party in Greece SYRIZA, met today at the IMF headquarters in Washington.”
“They had a constructive and sincere discussion on the economic challenges that Greece is facing,” the official said.”
Tsipras, currently on Washington tour, spoke also at the Law School of Columbia university in New York. He outlined the impact of the austerity program, the necessity to have social fairness and called for a crackdown on tax evasion, bureaucracy as well as higher taxes for the rich. Among others he underlined:
– Greece is seen as a test tube for the implementation of brutal neoliberal policies.
-Greek people are an industrious people, but unfortunately they have been wildly slandered by their own political leadership.
-Greece has become a place of reference for anyone who wants to study how the politics of recession destroys the social fabric.
– Will the rich pay their share in order to maintain the structures of the welfare state? (full speech in Greek via iskra.gr)
Nevertheless, I remember IMF chief Christine Lagarde personally to speak about the necessity to reduce salaries in the private sector and boost competitiveness…