‘Debt must be paid in full!’ – German bankers threaten Greece

Crowds in Athens celebrate Syriza’s victory – Germany is demanding every euro of the Greek debt is repaid
Crowds in Athens celebrate Syriza’s victory – Germany is demanding every euro of the Greek debt is repaid

GERMANY has issued warnings to the new Greek government that it must ‘live up to its commitments to its creditors’, and ‘take measures so that the economic recovery continues’.

German government spokesman Steffan Seibert continued yesterday: ‘A part of that is Greece holding to its prior commitments and that the new government be tied in to the reform’s achievements.’

And Olli Rehn, the man who was the architect of Greece’s bailout demanded that the country pay back its entire debt, even if repayment terms have to be altered.

Rehn, who was the former EU finance commissioner and is now the vice president of the European Parliament, said that although payments could be extended over a longer period, the debt ‘must be paid in full’.

Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras said yesterday that he wanted negotiation, not confrontation, with international lenders.

‘The new Greek government will be ready to co-operate and negotiate for the first time with our peers a just, mutually beneficial and viable solution.’

Tsipras said: ‘The Troika (the European Union, European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund) for Greece is the thing of the past.’

Syriza leader Tsipras – who was sworn in as prime minister on Monday – was expected to unveil his new cabinet later on Tuesday.

Syriza’s chief economics spokesman Euclid Tsakalotos said: ‘Nobody believes that the Greek debt is sustainable.

‘I haven’t met an economist in their heart of hearts that will tell you that Greece will pay back all of that debt. It can”t be done.’

He said that EU leaders needed now to show that they were willing to work with Syriza.

‘It’s going to be a very funny and a very dangerous Europe with very strong centrifugal political forces if they signal that after a democratic vote they’re not interested in talking to a new government.

‘It will be a final signal that this is a Europe that can’t incorporate democratic change and it can’t incorporate social change.’

But Tsakalotos stressed that it would be ‘my worst nightmare if the eurozone collapses because Greece falls’.

‘And if Greece falls and is removed from the eurozone – the eurozone will collapse.

‘We said from the beginning the eurozone is in danger, the euro is in danger, but it isn’t in danger from Syriza . . . it is in danger from the very policies of austerity.’