The feeling of embarrassment comes to an end, while the main opposition era commences
Alexis Tsipras presented SYRIZA’s future plans over the weekend in Thessaloniki, launching an organized counter-attack on behalf of the main opposition. The former prime minister’s intervention consisted of several key-points such as the economy, labor, an alternative progressive plan, the Prespa Agreement, alongside a vicious attack towards the government.
The president of SYRIZA, through his customary speech and press conference – which broke all records by lasting more than three hours – harshly criticized the government and personally attacked Kyriakos Mitsotakis. “SYRIZA will engage in militant, programmatic and documented opposition”, Al. Tsipras stressed. Tsipras emphasized that SYRIZA must be transformed into that “great democratic and progressive group for the left ideology”.
The surplus issue, cynically tackled
The primary surplus issue was his communication’s spearhead. Alexis Tsipras once again accused the New Democracy government of abandoning its pre-election declarations regarding negotiations on the target, but also of failing to implement the mechanism introduced by Tsipras and Tsakalotos, which predicted a nominal drop from 3.5% to 2.5%. That would mean extra space for relief measures.
The government accuses SYRIZA that this plan in question was nothing but papers, without any further information provided to the institutions. However, in response to a question on the subject, Alexis Tsipras revealed that the major European players were “absolutely well informed” and that they did not disagree, since the budgetary objective was not violated. He pointed out that, for this reason, it was not necessary to enter into negotiations.
“You only support the powerful”
In the same context, the former prime minister pointed out that New Democracy proceeds with tax reliefs aimed not for the middle class, but for the “powerful” and the “oligarchs”. He noted that the previous government had already begun putting in force reductions from September 2018, while further relief measures were scheduled for 2020.
“Back to the memorandum policy, without the memoranda”
As for the sector of labor, that had been at the heart of SYRIZA’s government policy, Al. Tsipras spoke of “returning to the basics of the memorandum policy, without a memorandum”. These comments were made on the occasion of the Development Bill’s provisions currently under consultation, which set out a number of exemptions for the implementation of sectoral collective agreements.
As he pointed out, the Mitsotakis Government legislates at the prompting of the Association of Greek Industries, thus paving the way for wage and labor rights shrinkages. At the same time, he accused the government of serving specific business interests, while he spoke of a deliberate attempt to depreciate PPC, in order to achieve its sale.
The justification on the Prespa Agreement and the shots fired at Mitsotakis
The president of SYRIZA made a special reference to the Prespa Agreement, underlining the U-turns the New Democracy officials have made, stating in particular that K. Mitsotakis “really outdid himself in terms of hypocrisy and demagogy” on this issue. After all, one year ago, during the 2018 TIF, as Al. Tsipras delivered his speech as prime minister, a protest against the Agreement was in progress outside the premises, with the support of executives who belonged in the main opposition at the time. Indeed, violent incidents with petrol-bombings and assaults on government residencies and on SYRIZA headquarters had occurred during that period.
Al. Tsipras said he was proud of the Prespa Agreement and the resolution of the name dispute, considering them factors for achieving peace in the Balkans and for strengthening Greece’s role in the region. It is noted that the New Democracy government stresses now the need to respect and honor the Agreement. “As they should, since it is worth honoring; nonetheless, this stance highlights their turnaround even more”, he added. /ibna