Thursday , September 28 2023
Home / News / Politics / PM Tsipras’ speech on Referendum 1. JUL 2015 (ENG text, video w ENG subtitles)

PM Tsipras’ speech on Referendum 1. JUL 2015 (ENG text, video w ENG subtitles)

In his address to the Greeks on Wednesday afternoon, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras assured that the Referendum will take place as scheduled. He called on Greek people to “vote NO”. However, he implied that he could/would consider to cancel it, if the outcome at tonight’s Eurogroup meeting was “positive.”

“We will respond immediately,” Tsipras said.

Tsipras’ speech Video: Greek with English Subtitles


Tsipras’ speech – Full Text in English

Greek citizens,

We are at a critical juncture regarding the future of this country.

Sunday’s referendum is not about whether our country will stay in the Eurozone.

This is a given and no one should question this.

On Sunday we will choose whether to accept the institutions’ agreement or whether, with the strength of the people’s verdict, we will seek a viable solution.

In any case, I want to reassure the Greek people of government’s firm intention to reach an agreement with its partners, with conditions that are sustainable and will provide for the long-term.

Since we announced our decision to hold a referendum, better proposals have been offered concerning the debt and its necessary restructuring than those that were on the table on Friday.

We did not ignore them. We immediately submitted our counterproposals asking for a viable solution, and for this reason an extraordinary Eurogroup meeting was convened yesterday, which will continue this afternoon.

Should there be a positive outcome, we will respond immediately. In any case, the Greek government remains willing to negotiate and will do so until an agreement is reached. The government will be at the negotiating table on Monday as well, immediately after the referendum, seeking better terms for the Greek people.

A popular verdict is always so much stronger than the will of a government alone. And I would like to reiterate that democratic choice is a core European tradition. During very important moments in European history, the people have made important decisions through referenda.

This happened in France, and in many other countries, concerning the referendum on the European constitution. This happened in Ireland, where the referendum temporarily voided the Treaty of Lisbon and led to a renegotiation, that resulted in better terms for Ireland. Unfortunately, in Greece’s case, we’ve been subjected to different standards.

Personally, I would have never expected that democratic Europe would not understand the need to give some space and time to a people to sovereignly make a choice about their future.

The prevalence of extreme conservative forces led to the decision to asphyxiate our country’s banks–with the obvious aim of blackmailing not just the government, but each each citizen individually.

It is unacceptable in a Europe of solidarity and mutual respect to have these disgraceful images:

For the banks to be closed, exactly because the government decided to give the people the opportunity to express their will;

And for thousands of elderly people to be deeply inconvenienced. However, the Greek government, despite the financial asphyxiation, took the appropriate measures and made sure that pensions were paid and deposited into the accounts.

We owe an explanation to these people who have been so inconvenienced:

We have been fighting all these months in order to protect your pensions.

To protect your right to a decent pension and not a miserly “tip”.

The proposals that they tried to blackmail us in order to accept demanded huge pension reductions.

And we refused to go along with this.

And this is why they are retaliating today.

The Greek government was given an ultimatum to implement exactly the same austerity measures, and all the outstanding aspects of the memorandum that had not been implemented.

And, in fact, without any provisions on the debt and financing.

This ultimatum was not accepted.

The self-evident alternative was to reach out to the people.

And this is what we have done.

I am well aware that during this period the sirens of destruction have been blaring.

They are trying to blackmail you as well, and ask that you vote YES on all the measures requested by the institutions, without any prospect of exiting the crisis.

They want you to side with those in Parliament who have repeatedly said YES to all the measures that have burdened the country.

To become one with them.

Complicit in perpetuating the memoranda.

It is important to understand, NO is not just a slogan.

NO is a decisive step towards a better deal that we aim to be signed immediately after Sunday’s result.

It constitutes the clear choice of the people concerning how their lives will be going forward.

NO does not mean breaking with Europe, but rather, returning to a Europe of values.

NO means: strong pressure for an economically viable agreement that will solve the debt issue, that will not increase the debt so that it continuously undermines our efforts to rebuild the Greek economy and society.

A socially just agreement that will allocate the burdens to those that can shoulder them, and not the workers and the pensioners.

An agreement that will allow the country, in a short period of time, to access the international financial markets, and thus end the supervision and guardianship.

An agreement containing reforms that will punish, once and for all, those who enable corruption and that have been fueling the political system all these years.

And at the same time, it will address the humanitarian crisis, create a comprehensive safety net for those who are marginalized–precisely because of the policies that have been implemented in our country for so many years.

Greek citizens,

I am fully aware of the difficulties.

I personally pledge that I will do everything possible so that these difficulties are temporary.

Some insist on linking the referendum’s result to the country staying in the euro.

They claim that I have a hidden agenda, if the NO vote prevails, to remove the country from the EU.

They are knowingly lying.

These are same people who used to say the very same thing in the past.

And they do a great disservice to the people and to Europe.

As you are aware, a year ago during the European elections, I was a candidate for the Presidency of the European Commission.

I stood before the Europeans then, just as now, and I argued that austerity policies must stop, that the memoranda will not lead to an end to the crisis.

That the program implemented in Greece failed.

That Europe must stop behaving in an undemocratic manner.

A few months later, in January 2015, the Greek people confirmed these sentiments.

Unfortunately, certain people in Europe refuse to understand this, refuse to admit this.

Those who want a Europe of authoritarianism that fails to respect democracy, those who wish for Europe to be a superficial union with the IMF being the “glue” that binds, are not visionaries for Europe.

They are timid politicians, unable to think as Europeans.

They stand side by side with those in our domestic political system, who are responsible for leading our country to bankruptcy, and that now have the gall to attempt to dump the burden on us–even as we’ve been trying to put an end to the country’s course of destruction.

They dream, indeed, of being restored to power.

This is what they’ve been hoping for—and still hope for, irrespective of whether we accepted the ultimatum–as they have blatantly sought an unelected Prime Minister who would implement it– or whether we gave our people the opportunity to express their will.

They talk of a coup. But democracy is not a coup. Unelected governments intent on manipulating circumstances—that is a coup.

Greek citizens,

I want to wholeheartedly thank you for the calmness and composure you’ve shown during every hour of this difficult week.

I want to assure you that this situation will not drag on.

It will be temporary.

Salaries and pensions will not be lost.

The deposits of citizens who did not withdraw their money or place it abroad will not be sacrificed on the altar of expediency and extortion.

I personally assume responsibility for reaching a solution immediately after the democratic process.

I urge you to strengthen this negotiating effort with your support, I invite you to say NO to the memorandum measures that are destroying Europe.

I invite you to respond positively to the prospect of a viable solution.

To turn a page, that calls for upholding democracy.

With the certain hope that we will reach a better deal.

We owe this to our parents, our children, ourselves.

It is our duty. We owe this to history.

Thank you.

Source: PrMinistry site

In European capitals, creditors do their best to increase pressure on the Greek government. Belrin says that “it will not discuss further on the Greek issue before the referendum”, Roma called on Tsipras to cancel it.

PS after all these years in Parliamentary opposition, I have the feeling that SYRIZA is still in opposition but within Europe.

PS Odd that Tsipras did not mention “Default to IMF”, a once-in-a-life experience!

Check Also

Greek PM calls UN members on “global cooperation” against Climate Change

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called on United Naions members to join a “global cooperation” …


  1. I wonder what Tsipras’ strategy is. By now he should be aware that the creditors will not give him the deal he wants. In fact one could have known this already back in February. While it is understandable to blame the creditors for their relentlessness I cannot understand that he doesn’t have a Plan B in case Plan A doesn’t work. I also don’t like how he is playing with the referendum. Either there is something important to be decided by the whole people – then you can’t use it as a bargaining chip in a negotiation. Or it’s not important – then how come he thinks this will improve his position?

    In fact there is an important question the Greek government could ask its citizens: do you want to kowtow to the creditors and face an endless period of no hope or do you want to return to your own currency, stop paying foreign debt and return to normality after a couple of harsh years?

    • I agree Tsipras must be detached from reality if he honestly believes that he can keep Greece in the euro zone and get a better deal from the creditors after a No vote. Maybe, he wants to take Greece out of the EZ, but be able to blame it on the creditors?

      • Giaourti Giaourtaki

        Only idiots who call this a game think this dirty blame pigeonholing. If he thinks that Greece would be better off then why should he blame anyone for the better future, he isn’t sick like the scum he’s fighting against

        • @Giaourti, yes, I would hope the prime minister is honest with the Greek people. However, he is also promising the nation things he is not in a position to promise (e.g., “the pensions are secure”, even though it is pretty clear by now to everyone that the government does not have the euros to pay the retirees).

          If we assume they have no secret agenda of taking Greece out of the euro and/or keeping their power at the expense of the Greek people, I believe from the beginning Syriza has been playing a losing game. They miscalculated that a Grexit would be equally painful for the Greek people and the creditors. Tsipras just repeated that on Monday (“they will not kick us out of the euro because of the costs for them will be huge”). In essence it is the argument of a suicide bomber who threatens to blow himself up in a crowded bar, unless his demands are met. However, in reality it is more like someone pointing a gun to his head in a crowded bar. Yes, there could be blood all over the place that nobody wants, but he is not in a position to extract favors.

          In effect, the main ace the Greek government had in their game of chicken (threatening to expose the fallacy of euro irreversibility) has already been played. I have not yet heard top euro zone leaders (at the level of Merkel and Draghi) to publicly talk about the possibility of a Grexit. However, pretty much everybody from the level below them down has already admitted it is a very real possibility. Some serious observers already put the probability at 50-85%. Still, the euro, the euro zone economy, the stock markets, and the government bonds of other European periphery countries (Italy, Spain, Portugal) are pretty much holding steady (even after Tsipras escalated the negotiations by calling the referendum). In fact, for economic and political reasons, the remaining euro zone countries cannot afford to be seen as being lenient towards Greece. I am not even talking about the antipathy many of the other euro leaders started to show towards Tsipras and Varoufakis due to their erratic style of negotiations.

          On the other hand, it is pretty clear that the Greek economy has taken a turn from bad to worse due to the uncertainty of the last several months. I hope they realize it, but Syriza is not playing a zero-sum game in which the total amount of goods is staying the same, and the question is how to re-distribute them. The pie the Greek people have available keeps getting smaller, and quickly.

          How would you explain Tsipras’s behavior given the reality?

          • Giaourti Giaourtaki

            How can one judge on a person whose identity is media made?
            Hopefully the EYP will have wire-tapped all this “negotiations” so that the people will learn the truth about these impotent mutants.
            You not even have a awareness for your opinion is build on lies, you believe in some overpaid Pulitzer idiot “research” that someone wrote a book about games and plop the lie of chicken was created.
            It’s like this hoax “Kammenos said Yews don’t pay taxes”, nobody checks the facts but true believers are easy idiots and they love it.
            The referendum is no escalation it’s an reaction to it, the escalation came as the creditors finally realized that Greece is still not finished: So, let’s kill their tourism!
            The economy in the first quarter was no way collapsing, for the 2nd quarter the numbers get published these days.
            Austerity in Greece 18%, in Portugal 6.6 and in Spain 6% PLUS NO TROIKA!
            If you think Greece can’t live alone then take a look to Kos, there thousands of refugees thank Greece and Greeks who help them without getting any support from Brussels but may be Greece has to get more divided, self-organised local communities in the end need no state, no government and no EU.

          • @Giaourti I am not judging Tsipras (or Varoufakis for that matter) through the opinion of others. My judgement is based on their actions and statements.

            By Einstein’s definition, “insanity” is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Tsipras already received a mandate at the last elections to negotiate a better deal with the creditors without exiting from the euro. There were some marginal improvements offered to him by the creditors (mostly, due to the reality of the shrinking Greek economy this year). To get to that, the creditors had to pay the highest price they could — admit the euro membership is reversible, and suffer a Greek default on one of the payments.

            Now Tsipras asks for the same mandate again. I doubt he is insane (the Greek people are smart and they made him a Prime Minister), but if that is true nothing can help Greece. If that is not true (the more likely possibility), he must have a hidden agenda and he must be dishonest with the Greek voters.

            For the sake of the argument, let’s assume Greek people vote No in the referendum (as Tsipras is advocating). Why do you think the creditors will agree to cross their “red lines” — which are that euro membership is based on rules (which might be bent based on circumstances, but which need to be strong if euro is to be a strong currency)? Yes, they will need to accept that Greek economy will do even worse this year (which is inevitable if capital controls are applied and a lot of businesses are affected). However, the creditors will not budge on Tsipras’s “red lines”. Then what? Do you think at that point (and after the referendum) Tsipras will prioritize euro membership higher than accepting the austerity measures demanded by the creditors?

  2. if tsipras is still in power come mondasy morning the country goes belly up buy the end of the month hopefully if its a yes vote tsipras and company go to jail monday morning

  3. Giaourti Giaourtaki

    If it’s a Greek referendum why should it be translated, so that Brussels and Berlin can talk into it? It’s not their referendum; live from Berlin Scheisstag on ERT with subs is enough to show, especially as the German opposition has very limited speech-time there


    My fellow Greeks,

    Be proud of your heritage and history. On October 28, 1940, with great strength and resolve, you proudly said OXI.

    Say OXI again on July 5, 2015. Do not sell out your country for 30 pieces of silver!

    • What if we all say oxi and be proud? What if the Eu countries stick by their rules? The budgetary deficit of a country has to be below 3%, in Greece it is 160,5%. If a country doesn’t succeed than penalties can follow. So instead of penalties Greece has been supported by EU countries taxmoney and ECB (indirectly also EU countries taxmoney. Tell me, who is the bad guy? People in Greece and the Greek governments who lent and lent by the banks and spend the money but couldn’t pay back, Greek governments who just need more civiel servants to give the jobs to family or other citizens in other countries who pay there bills and taxes and supported the Greek people? Be proud if their will be no more money in the banks because the government didn’t pay IMF and probably also ECB can’t be paid. The Greek state bonds will be useless and the whole Greek banksystem can collapse. Who will pay the pensioners, keep shops open and so on? The Greek government say the referendum will be about better negotiations terms. In my country the opinion is that the Greek vote for or against staying in the Euro (zone). So are you willing to believe a politician in Greece and face all the consequencies that can follow?
      And yes I am angry when my family in Greece has no customers in their shop and therefore earns no money because the chaos created by a politicus called Tsipras, who has no experience in leading anything.

      • keeptalkinggreece

        what if all grannies had skate-rollers?

      • Giaourti Giaourtaki

        You know why the interest in spring of 2009 that ignited the crisis and brought ND down was so high? Because troops revolted against rumours to get send against the December-Revolt 2008.