PM Tsipras: The Greek program review will be completed without additional austerity measures

The Greek program review will be completed without additional austerity measures because that’s what the agreement stipulates and everyone must respect it, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Friday during a heated debate in parliament on a proposal tabled by SYRIZA and ANEL to start a probe into the legality and conditions under which banks gave loans to parties and various media.

“The country is not alone. And the country is right and we will be vindicated. The economy will return to growth and the people will exit from the tunnel after six years of disaster,” Tsipras told MPs.

“While society was in the midst of austerity, with thousands of jobs being lost, and the unprecedented burden on the taxpayers, who had the nerve to refund the loans of political parties and media? Which expediency was served?” he wondered, adding that the triangle of corruption – banks, parties, media – planned and implemented policies that favoured economic elites.

Tsipras then focused his criticism on the main opposition, accusing it of siding with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and its austerity policies. “You’re more Catholic than the Pope,” he said turning to ND leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis. “What do you mean you fully identify with the positions of the IMF on the issues of labour market and structural reforms?”

He also accused Mitsotakis of discrediting the country by calling for elections juts before the program review is completed, alleging that the government coalition is about to collapse. He said this showed the ND leader is willing to lead the country to a credit crunch just to gain power. “This is your aim, once again, but it’s not going to happen. You have to understand that you’ll have to wait for a long time,” he said, adding the people will not give an opportunity to these neoliberal positions.

Mentioning the Wikileaks affair, when telephone conversations between the IMF’s top officials were leaked, Tsipras said that New Democracy, instead on focusing on the content of these leaks, made innuendos about the source of the leak. He then accused Mitsotakis of defending the positions of “third parties” and not Greece’s, by referring to the ND leader’s comment that the country is in shambles.

“There’s a climate of recognition for Greece. In the name of this recognition, the Pope and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew are coming to Greece.”

He then said that the head of the European Central Bank (ECB), Mario Draghi, announced that European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) bonds held by Greek banks are eligible for inclusion in quantitative easing program. This decision, he noted, amounts to indirect recapitalization as Greek banks may gradually sell during the year up to 50 pct of the EFSF bonds they hold in their portfolios, whose value is estimates at over 30 billion euros. This also means the banks will have a very important boost totaling 18.5 billion euros. “This development is not only a significant relief for banks and liquidity, it also constitutes the beginning of the end for the crisis and the imminent [program] review,” Tsipras said.

Speaking to the leader of New Democracy, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, he said this will happen “whether you like it or not, without taking additional measures, as the IMF desperately wants.”