Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos admitted that the Tsipras government made two strategic mistakes during the negotiations with the European lenders in the first half of 2016. He said that the government considered “the threat of Grexit as a means of pressure towards creditors. However, at that time the German side was in fact in favor of such prospect, i.e. the Grexit.”,
Speaking at the Sciences Po – Paris School of International Affairs, Tsakalotos said that the approach of the government in early 2015 was that it would succeed in achieving a better agreement over Greece’s debt, “but we did not achieve this.”
“We were defeated and had to reach a compromise, accept a bailout program, given that a debt relief package was promised at the end of the memorandum.” he added.
He admitted two strategic errors of the first SYRIZA government, the Grexit issue and the “over-estimation” of the Tsipras government’s ability to deal with corruption and tax evasion.
He said that “the rich” in Greece always have the best attorneys and accountants, in order to find ways to avoid paying taxes. He added that the government was over-confident in its ability to locate money laundering and tax evasion.
Tsakalotos, who succeeded Yanis Varoufakis in July 2015, said also that the negative outcome of the negotiations was guaranteed no matter who was the finance minister in Athens. European creditors had the intention to “defeat” a leftist government in the eurozone,” he added.