Greeks Say No to More Austerity as Tsipras Prepares to Confront his Creditors


Greek bailout negotiations are once again underway after Alexis Tsipras reaffirmed that an overwhelming majority of his citizens support him.

Greeks gave the rest of Europe a resounding “NO” on Sunday’s referendum, with 61% of people voting against the harsh austerity measures that were demanded of the country. With that result Tsipras appears confident that he can negotiate a better agreement in order to get his country back on track. He will address a summit of eurozone leaders on Tuesday to present alternative proposals to those previously dictated-the nature of which are currently unknown. What is known is that Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis will no longer be part of the process, following his resignation shortly after the referendum. He was clearly disliked by his counterparts across Europe, especially after accusing them of terrorism, so he decided to step aside to let the process continue without him. He announced that he “shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride” before hopping on his motorcycle and riding into the sunset.

Meanwhile in Paris, French Prime Minister François Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were meeting to discuss the next step. Hollande said that “it is now up to the government of Alexis Tsipras to make serious, credible proposals so that this willingness to stay in the eurozone can translate into a lasting programme,” while Merkel added that “it will be important tomorrow that the Greek prime minister tells us how things should proceed and what precise suggestions he can submit to us” in regards to getting Greece on its feet again. Merkel is vehemently against debt relief due to her belief that Greece has not yet done enough to warrant it, and also the fear that it could start a dangerous precedent for the eurozone as a whole.

That could all change on Tuesday however, as Europe waits for Tsipras’ next move. Despite calls that Greece is on course to leave the eurozone altogether, he refutes this, saying that the referendum was merely meant to give him a stronger hand at the negotiating table.

Because abandoning the euro sets a far more dangerous precedent.

Further reading:

Image: “Angela Merkel (2008)” by א (Aleph)  CC BY-SA 2.5

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