German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s telephone call to the Greek President Karolos Papoulias last Friday, when she asked for a referendum to be held on the euro along with the general election on 17 June, has produced a hostile reaction from all Greek political parties.
The leaders of the conservatives and of the social-democrats rejected Merkel’s proposal as an intervention into Greek politics.
The response of the leader of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Alexis Tsipras was much sharper, stating that ‘Mrs Merkel is used to addressing the Greek political leadership as those of a protectorate’.
Tsipras’ statement points out that Merkel speaks thus because the leaders of the Greek social-democrats and of the conservatives signed letters of submission to the EC-IMF Accords of barbaric austerity measures (the bail-out agreements).
The statement adds that in the 17 June election, ‘the Greek people will put an end to the accords of austerity, submission and indignity, and will open the door for progressive developments throughout Europe’.
A statement from the Democratic Left party said that ‘Mrs Merkel attempts to terrorise Greek citizens; this is an unaccepted act at election period; she must realise that the political environment in Europe is changing.’
The Greek Communist Party (KKE) in their statement castigated Merkel’s ‘naked extortion’ pointing out that ‘this is yet another proof that the abolition of the accords of barbaric austerity measures demands a collision with the EC.’
The KKE called on ‘the people to organise their fight and initiative to get Greece out of the EC,’ and repeated the call that only a government of ‘people’s power’ would write-off Greece’s debt.
In the last few days the leader of SYRIZA, Alexis Tsipras, has been busy seeing the German ambassador to Greece and the German vice-president of the European Parliament as well as giving interviews to all the leading international bourgeois newspapers and tv channels including the Wall St Journal.
In all his interviews Tsipras is at pains to point out that a ‘Left’ government (which he sees as a coalition of SYRIZA, the Democratic Left and KKE) if elected in June would stay in the Eurozone but it will abolish the EC-IMF Accords.
The Wall Street Journal quoted Tsipras as saying that if the EC stop financing Greece, then Greece would stop paying interest rates.
Tsipras emphasised, according to the newspaper, that a Greek economic collapse would bring down the whole of the Eurozone.
• At the end of the G8 Summit at Camp David on Saturday, leaders issued a joint statement saying that it is ‘imperative’ to promote growth and jobs and that Greece remains in the Eurozone and carries out its ‘commitments’.
‘We agree on the importance of a strong and cohesive Eurozone for global stability and recovery, and we affirm our interest in Greece remaining in the Eurozone while respecting its commitments,’ the statement said.
G8 leaders said they were committed to ‘take all necessary steps to strengthen and reinvigorate our economies and combat financial stresses’.
They continued: ‘We commit to fiscal responsibility and, in this context, we support sound and sustainable fiscal consolidation policies that take into account countries’ evolving economic conditions and underpin confidence and economic recovery.’
G8 member countries are United States of America, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, Canada, Japan and Russia.
Former Chancellor Alistair Darling commented: ‘The words were fine, but I’m afraid this is another example. It’s going to take a crisis, an absolute crisis, to make Europe’s leaders act.
‘That’s what happened four years ago and I’m afraid that’s what’s going to be needed in the future.
‘But we really are in a very, very dangerous position at the present time.’