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By Lucky Gold
Going directly to the hell
Alexis Tsipras, head of Syriza, Greece’s extreme left-wing political party, appeared on Amanpour Wednesday.
Speaking from Athens, where he currently leads in the presidential polls, Mr. Tsipras responded to German Chancellor Merkel’s ultimatum – either Greece seeks economic reform and embraces austerity, or it will be shown the door of the European Union.
“I don’t know what Madame Merkel wants to do but I know what we want to do,” said Tsipras. “We don’t want outside the Eurozone. But we believe that Madame Merkel put the euro and the Eurozone in big danger by keeping these austerity measures.”
He added, “We want to change the austerity measures in Greece, also in Europe. We want to do this with the incorporation of other forces and people of Europe, the people who want a big change. Because everybody now understands that with this policy we are going directly to the hell. And we want to change this way.”
Rich people to buy everything with euros
He was asked the consequences if Greece abandons the euro and returns to the drachma as its currency: “If Greece goes back to the drachma, the second day the other countries in Europe will have the same problem,” said Tsipras.
“I really disagree with a lot of the things that Madame Merkel say and do, “ he said gamely speaking in English, “but I agree with what she said before, that if Greece goes out of the euro, the second day the markets will find who will be the second, and the second will be Italy or Spain.”
“Italy has a very big public debt, not like Greece,” said Tsipras. “So you can understand what I was meaning when I was telling you this road goes to hell. We don’t want Europe to be in a catastrophe way. So if we want to save Europe, we need to change these directions.”
But if austerity measures won’t work, what will? Tsipras reiterated that the answer won’t be found with the drachma: “We don’t want a whole catastrophe for the Eurozone and for Europe. At the same time we don’t want to go back to drachmas. Because in Greece we would have the poor people to have drachmas and rich people to buy everything with euros…”
First of all, we will cancel all these austerity measures
He wasn’t just speaking of Greece but of the Eurozone as a whole: “We will do whatever we could do to keep Greece inside the euro and inside Europe…. We are watching this situation in the whole view of Europe and the Eurozone. You can understand what will happen if the Eurozone will be split and the Eurozone will be in this big danger.”
When asked what he would do as president, Tsipras said, “First of all, we will cancel all these austerity measures…. We believe that this crisis is not a Greek crisis but a European crisis. And we will try to find a common solution - about the role of ECB, about the Europe bonds, about the negotiation of the public debt of all the European countries.”
Asked if he could foresee partners in that negotiation, Tsipras was optimistic: “We think we will find partners…. We will have the same problem with Italy, with Spain, with Portugal, and also with Ireland and also in the central Europe.”
He views the recent election of socialist Francois Hollande in France as a positive sign: “We don’t want more austerity measures. We can’t go on with these austerity measures because everything was destroyed in Greece. If the Greek people will keep with this opinion, everything will change in Europe.”