Tsipras vows Greece will keep its promises to Europe

Syriza rejects Le Pen's support, 'against fascism'

21 January, 19:18

    Alexis Tsipras (C), leader of the radical left main opposition party SYRIZA Alexis Tsipras (C), leader of the radical left main opposition party SYRIZA

    (by Patrizio Nissirio) (ANSAmed) - ROME - Any future government under Syriza will maintain Greece's commitments with Europe on budget regulations and deficit reduction, wrote its leader Alexis Tsipras in a Financial Times editorial on Wednesday. The pledge seems an olive branch extended to EU partners and international creditors by Tsipras, seen in the polls as likely to win Sunday's elections. His government, he added, will introduce ''a new social contract'' for the country that includes an end to austerity measures and which will lead to political stability and economic security. Four days ahead of the crucial January 25 vote, following weeks of international concerns expressed on a near-daily basis and the evocation of a possible Greek exit from the eurozone, Tsipras echoed the reassuring tone he had used last month in an editorial published in the Germany Handelsblatt.

    ''A Syriza government will respect Greece's obligation, as a eurozone member, to maintain a balanced budget, and will commit to quantitative targets,'' he wrote.

    Uncertainty over what will happen after the January 25 vote has in recent weeks led to record lows for the country's government bonds and severe weakness of the Athens stock exchange. For Tsipras - whose lead in the polls over Nea Dimokratia conservatives seems to be rising as the time draws closer - negotiating for a reduction in Greek debt should be neither a tragedy nor a war. ''We have a duty to negotiate openly, honestly and as equals with our European partners. There is no sense in each side brandishing its weapons,'' he noted. European leaders starting from German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble have said repeatedly that there is no plan to cut Greek debt. However, the left-wing leader feels that the austerity-suffocated Greek economy needs oxygen that only a cut in debt or a moratorium on payments can give. ''On existing loans, we demand repayment terms that do not cause recession and do not push the people to more despair and poverty,'' he wrote. Tsipras said in the editorial that Syriza's program ''will put the middle class back on its feet. This is the only way to strengthen the eurozone and make the European project attractive to citizens across the continent''.

    Otherwise, he warns, the field will be left open to forces like the French Front National and its allies. The support voiced by Front National leader Marine Le Pen, who on Tuesday said that she hoped Syriza would win, was rejected by the Greek movement. ''A vote for us serves to change Europe's policies, freeing it from far-right fascisms and nationalisms,'' ANSA was told by the manager of the Greek party, Theofanis Papageorgiou. ''Austerity (which Syriza is against) is one of the main sources of fascism,'' he added. Tsipras went on to criticize current prime minister Antonis Samaras, saying that continuing in the same direction would only increase the uncertainty of relations between Greece and Europe. ''If the Greek people entrust us with their votes, implementing our economic programme will not be a "unilateral" act, but a democratic obligation,'' he wrote.

    ''We must end austerity so as not to let fear kill democracy.''(ANSAmed).

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