Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said the UK’s Brexit deadlock illustrates the flaws of a “nationalistic approach” and “chauvinist rhetoric” in addressing a country’s political, economic and social problems.
“Brexit was a very bad development for Europe, and very bad for Britain as well,” Mr Tsipras said in an interview in Athens with the Financial Times.
“Whatever we are watching now is the result of a chauvinist rhetoric that promised a breakthrough with a nationalistic approach, not with finding collective solutions.”
He said Greece had learnt from hard experience that it was in the national interest to stay in the eurozone and EU.
“If the UK, which is a very significant power, has so many difficulties in finding a way forward for Brexit, then just imagine, what about Greece?” said Mr Tsipras. “The developments with Brexit prove that this path, the nationalistic path, is not a path that offers an easy way for a breakthrough in solving real problems.” Mr Tsipras also sounded the alarm about anti-EU and rightwing populist political movements across Europe, saying the EU was struggling to make a convincing case to voters ahead of next month’s European Parliament elections.
Accounting for the electoral appeal of these forces, he said: “It has to do with the current austerity policies and with the face of Europe, which is not so attractive for European citizens. The EU seems to be not so democratic, not so friendly to people’s needs.”
However, he said it was too soon to write off progressive leftist parties, which he contended were making a comeback in countries such as Denmark, Finland and Spain.
If the UK takes its seats in the European Parliament alongside the EU’s other 27 countries, the Labour party stands a good chance of being the UK’s largest party, he noted.
“I think the game is still open in Europe. Even if currently there is an impression that the conservative right and the extreme rightwing have better results, I think this is something that will not last for ever,” said Mr Tsipras. Full interview in financial times.