SYRIZA's government had managed to complete Greeces fiscal adjustment program (memoranda) successfully and restored the country's credibility abroad, SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance leader Alexis Tsipras said on Sunday during a press conference at the Thessaloniki Helexpo Forum.
Asked why the ex-government had not introduced some of the measures he had presented at the same venue on Saturday evening, Tsipras said that Syriza came to power under very different circumstances than the current ones and had to deal with empty coffers while being pressured to provide high primary surpluses.
"Today, the government has at its disposal 37 billion euros in reserves of public funds that we left behind, and access to cheap borrowing," he stressed, adding that the permanent measures Syriza proposes total 3 billion euros and "are required, absolutely realistic and doable, based on fiscal ability." He charged that "if the government is not implementing them, it's because it doesn't want to, not because it cannot."
On the novel coronavirus pandemic, he said that if scientists believe another lockdown is necessary, the party will support it, but the key question is what the government's acts or omissions are that would lead to a second lockdown in six months. "It will signal the absolute failure of [Prime Minister Kyriakos] Mitsotakis to manage the outcome of an effort by the entire Greek population," he said, criticizing the government for not providing a comprehensive plan and for conflicting actions.
The main opposition leader charged Mitsotakis with not using time efficiently during the lockdown to strengthen the National Health System, with the result that there are only 22 dedicated coronavirus beds remaining in Attica right now.
Asked about the possibility of snap elections, he said that "developments are more serious and greater than some believe, and (...) circumstances force us to be prepared." Such an eventuality, however, will result from Mitsotakis' "inability to face the burgeoning problems."
In terms of relations with Turkey, he said he had met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan several times and at challenging times. "We also had a lot of difficulties with Turkish government. We never stopped keeping communication going, through difficult meetings and phone calls. I went to Turkey three times in six months, while we invited the first Turkish president to Greece for the first time after decades," Tsipras said. But he criticized Mitsotakis for having no established plan on dealing with tensions and accused him of not pressuring Turkey for Confidence-Building Measures or the EU for sanctions against the neighboring country. The EU has to understand that Turkey threatens other countries beyond Greece and the only serious strategy the European body could apply is one of the carrot and the stick, he underlined.