Tsakalotos: Austerity ‘not a natural phenomenon’ or ‘necessary evil’

Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos appeared optimistic over the outcome of the elections on July 7, noting that ballot boxes are currently standing empty while the key issue was “to what extent they will be filled”. According to Tsakalotos, the main thing was for citizens to participate in the elections and he called on the young people that did not vote in the European elections to vote now.

Speaking to radio “Sto Kokkino” on Tuesday, Tsakalotos said that “austerity is not a natural phenomenon. It is not a necessary evil,” adding that it was imposed on Greece and other countries of the south and transfers wealth from those that have little to those that already have a lot.

He accused main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis of neoliberalism, quoting Noam Chomsky’s phrase that the doctrines of neoliberalism “are neither new, nor liberal”.

The minister noted that there are dividing lines: “On one hand we have social policy, social solidarity and the improvement of the situation in the Balkans and, on the other hand, we have nationalism, less social policy, the free economy and whoever can survive.”

Tsakalotos reiterated that SYRIZA has heard the message of the European elections. “I understand the people who say ‘I have greater needs,'” he said, adding that there should have been more emphasis on people’s daily lives and the way the state interacted with the citizens.