Eight months ago he swept to victory in an election that sent shockwaves around the world.
Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras’ declared aim was to save Greece from more austerity and to fundamentally change his country’s relationship with the EU establishment in Brussels. In the end he signed Greece up to a third strict bailout and more years of austerity and reform.
Now he is asking the Greek people to place their trust in him once again in a snap election that he hopes will strengthen his hand at the political helm.
So is Alexis Tsipras a dogmatic leftist or a European pragmatist?
In this edition of The Global Conversation Euronews’ Greek service correspondent in Brussels Ethfi Koutsokosta talks to Tsipras about the intense drama he, Greece and Europe have lived through in recent months.
Via Keep Talking Greece…
The former PM expressed optimism and faith about the end of recession and return of Greece to the markets.
“I believe that this temporary recession will end at the first half of 2016. We will have escaped the effects of the capital controls, we will be back to growth, provided that we will have gotten a positive outcome from the negotiations on the debt. I think, it is an achievable goal if not at the end of 2016 then at the beginning of 2017, that the country returns to the markets and therefore the country does not need loans, the new loans, the guardianship, all this tough situation we went through recently.”
It all sounds fair, successful and optimistic. But go tell the aged long-time unemployed, the low-pensioner and the family without income that they have to wait for another 1-2 years to go to the super market or to Power Company to pay the bills.
Unfortunately, what I miss most in these elections campaign and thus in all parties campaigning are: specific proposals on how to solve the No 1 problem of Greeks, that is the unemployment.
All parties speak loudly of the investment necessity and the urgency of jobs creation but none dare to declare that with capital controls in effect, with low interest in deposits and high interest for loans and banks recapitalization ahead, nobody is going to invest a single cent in Greece or create any job, let alone jobs with salaries that allow workers to remain afloat.
PS ops! I may be totally unfair in criticizing Tsipras and the other political parties. I forgot the promised €35-billion package by EC President Jean-Claude Juncker! I also forgot that our genius politicians have great plans on how to ease bureaucracy in establishing businesses and this in four sectors like tourism, restaurants, food processing and something else which I also forget right now. The relevant legislation is supposed to pass through by the end of 2016 (!) I read a couple of days ago. Odd, we have been hearing such promises since 2010.