THE GREEK government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in a treacherous U-turn has turned the landslide ‘NO’ to austerity vote in last Sunday’s referendum, into a ‘YES’ to the EC-IMF-ECB troika diktats.
Tsipras’ SYRIZA-ANEL coalition government, with the exception of Energy and Industry minister Panayiotis Lafazanis, submitted a barbaric programme of cuts estimated at about 13bn euros to the ESM (European Stability Mechanism) on Thursday night requesting a three-year loan of 53.5bn euros.
The loan is to be used exclusively to pay back to the troika bail-out money, plus interest rates, and once again ‘recapitalise’ the bankrupt Greek banks. Tsipras’ austerity proposal to the troika is almost identical to that rejected, 61% against 39%, by the Greek people in last Sunday’s referendum. Thus Tsipras’ action constitutes nothing less than a government coup. He has now betrayed the will of the Greek people twice in the last six months.
Tsipras’ austerity proposal programme, fully supported by the opposition conservative and social democratic parties, was to be discussed in the parliamentary committees on Friday afternoon and on the Vouli (Greek parliament) on Friday evening.
Rallies of ‘NO’ to austerity were scheduled for Friday and Sunday night in Athens and all Greek cities.
Tsipras’ proposed austerity accepts so-called ‘positive’ budgets of 1 per cent this year, 2 per cent in 2016, 3 per cent in 2017 and 3.5 per cent in 2018.
This means colossal cuts estimated at 12-13bn euros. It also includes increased taxation for workers and farmers, increased VAT in restaurants and all services, the abolition of supplementary pensions, cuts in pensions through increased contribution for health care, raising pension age to 67, legislation for reactionary labour reforms, cuts in wages starting in 2016, ‘mobilisation schemes’ and sackings of civil servants, and wholesale privatisations of all airports and seaports, including Piraeus and Thessaloniki, state property, electricity distribution and railways.
Business taxation is to be increased from 26 to 28 per cent, that is to the same level as wage earners! Tsipras’ austerity programme does not request a ‘haircut’ or ‘restructuring’ of the Greek public debt, estimated at an incredible 180 per cent of GDP. This could be discussed after 2022, Tsipras’ proposal states.
A marathon heated joint meeting of SYRIZA’s (Coalition of the Radical Left) parliamentary group and political secretariat was held on Friday morning with several deputies of the Left Platform criticising the government’s austerity proposals but refusing to state if they would vote against it in the Vouli in the evening.
The Eurogroup of finance ministers is to discuss Tsipras’ austerity programme today and the Eurozone summit this Sunday.