Samaras: Deputies would not tolerate having their conscience being blackmailed

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Sunday in Parliament lashed out on main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras.

In his address during the 2015 state budget debate, Samaras accused Tsipras of being disrespectful to the deputies and said they would not tolerate having their conscience being blackmailed.

The people do not want elections now, he said and wondered who is the one acting against the people’s will, the one that listens to them or the one that is indifferent and calls for elections.

You have praised a hunger striker but you forgot that this young man has been sentenced to 15 year imprisonment for robbery using a Kalashnikov, Samaras said.

He added that SYRIZA has undermined the country’s exit from the memorandum. The prime minister also recalled that both Tsipras and the troika said that previous budgets would not be implemented. The government has finally been reaffirmed in its forecasts, but Tsipras as well as the troika have been proven wrong.

The Prime Minister referred to the negotiation with the troika in relation to the budget and said that “we are discussing a budget with a 3 percent surplus…so that we would no longer need to borrow for spending or interests.”

The memorandum ends, the prime minister said, adding that in order for the evaluation to be completed we must agree with lenders on the estimates of next year. This is what we are now discussing with the troika. We were asked to take extraordinary restrictive measures, extended, horizontal and painful. We responded that we cannot take them, we do not need them and that they will hurt the economy. We accepted some of them and accepted that if we are wrong we will take some measures in the coming year. The disagreement with the troika has been scaled down but not eliminated. There may be a slight delay for technical reasons due to the parliaments.

We succeeded in having primary surpluses, tapping the markets earlier than expected and going into recovery and completing the program earlier than estimated. Greece will soon have exited the era of the memoranda; we are exiting the forced lending with onerous terms. But we are exiting not to return to the time of deficits and debts. If a government does this, then the markets will be inaccessible and it would have to turn to forced lending and a new memorandum. The government is leading the country into a new era that will meet the fiscal targets and implement reforms. But now we are making reforms in conditions of growth and we can take relief measures such as tax reductions. What will happen as of next year? A credit support line will be given to us, which will protect us from international turbulence; this is not forced lending, it is a shield so as to borrow from markets at low interest rates. The conditions will be completely different from the terms of the Memorandum, as well as the surveillance. They will be a little stricter in our case than in other countries. We are exiting the memorandum and we are entering a transitional period of one year. We will borrow not to pay public spending, but to pay maturing loans. The debt will not increase but will decrease as a percentage of GDP as well, now that the development has started.”

Samaras referred also the public debt: “When the debt is known to be sustainable and you say that it is not, you are saying that so that markets can hear you and not lend us. Between Greece and the party you are with the party, we are with Greece. You are not only opposed to Greece but to reality as well. What you are doing is a crime and wrong. We are here to ensure the stability that you are afraid of. Whether the debt is sustainable or not is something determined only by the markets. When we came out to the markets, the Greek bonds were received positively. The situation changed when you started talking about elections and challenged the political stability. Our problem is to remove the political uncertainty by electing a President and concluding the negotiation. SYRIZA forgets that our debt has had the biggest haircut in history.”

Samaras said the government has taken significant steps in foreign policy, referring to the trilateral cooperation between Greece and Cyprus and Egypt, the promotion of the strategic alliance with Israel and the continuation of the dialogue with Turkey contributing to the de-escalation of tension. Our problems with Turkey are not solved but friction is being normalized. Even with Russia we achieved a reduction in the natural gas price. Our relations with China are constantly improving. The Chinese are preparing a new investment in Piraeus and Greece is becoming an entry point for its products in Europe, which enhances the overall position of our country. Our relations with the US have improved.

The Prime Minister said privatizations continue mainly in the airports as well as in energy and transport while the contracts for the exploitation of the energy riches are progressing.

We promote the constitutional review that will shield the political stability and pave the way for major reforms. But this must be done now because if the Parliament does not elect a President, the country will not have a new constitution by 2021. This government has placed the country on the geopolitical stage of the region. But we must remain a stable country, within the EU and with stable relations with the countries of the region.

He said SYRIZA was trying to destabilize the country and turned to the unions in universities and schools. You have no program or plan, you are a party of extreme protest. You are scaring people with the things you are saying. When you say that the implementation of the policy will result in critical times, people are afraid that the country will be isolated. You have trivialized the Constitution which provides for maximum consensus on the person of the President of the Republic. You are blackmailing with elections to achieve the maximum destabilization…You are trying to win over members of other parties. We will either elect a President and the country will stabilize or each one will assume his responsibilities. I am sure that a President will be elected because Greek people do not want elections and deputies understand the necessity of the election. If you fail to cause nationals elections now, the situation next year will be much better for the country.

Addressing the MPs he said: “I urge you to vote for the first balanced budget of the country,” adding that these three elements a balanced budget, the election of the President and the constitutional review are the revolution that the country needs.