SYRIZA parliamentary group unanimously backs government after meeting

SYRIZA’s parliamentary group ended its marathon five-hour meeting on Friday backing unanimously the decisions of the government and its economic team in a meeting that discussed the latest agreement with Greece’s lenders.

“We are all giving the fight,” parliamentary group sources said.

Forty lawmakers took the floor while Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who chaired the meeting, spoke twice, along with Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos. According to the same sources, lawmakers expressed different views but there were no disagreements.

In his reply to MPs, Tsipras reiterated that elections will be held in 2019, adding that with the end of the four-year term, the government and the party will be credited with both the negatives and positives of the deal.

The main issues on which lawmakers focused where the high primary surplus and the measures and relief measures agreed with lenders. Sources said the government has not made a plan yet about how to distribute the 2017 surplus, adding this liquidity must not be wasted.

Tsakalotos said the measures and offsetting measures will be implemented simultaneously after 2018 and reiterated that the country’s strategy is debt relief, a trial tapping of the markets this summer and Greece’s inclusion in the quantitative easing program of the European Central Bank.

Asked about debt relief, the source rejected any possibility of not reaching a solution: “There’s not a chance we won’t have a solution on the debt. The compromise between Schaeuble and the IMF must be found now. The Fund is asking us for measures of 1 pct [of GDP] from taxation and 1 pct from pensions and measures for debt sustainability. We don’t want to fool anyone so we’re moving ahead with the voting of the measures but they will only be implemented with a solution on debt.”