Greek Opposition Leader Tsipras Calls for Debt Moratorium
September 18, 2012 • 12:51PM

Greek opposition leader Alexis Tsipras of the Syriza party denounced the government's new austerity policy at a press conference at the Thessaloniki International Fair, yesterday. He ridiculed the government's claim that it is winning more time to implement the austerity, saying, "all it will do is make the rope with which we hang ourselves longer. What is important to us is that we do not continue down the slippery slope of disaster."

While warning that if the government implements the additional EU11.5 billion in cuts it will have "little chance of longevity," he said his party would be ready to govern the country "tomorrow morning." Calling the three-party coalition government the "trinity of bankruptcy," Tsipras said, "I did not come here to speak to you about yesterday. I came to speak about tomorrow. I came to invite you to plan and create together the Greece that we envision, to rebuild Greece, ridding it ... of the memorandum of destruction and replacing it with a national plan for the developmental and productive restructuring of our country."

He then laid out his party's "integrated reconstruction program," which included the creation of a social welfare net to address the developing humanitarian crisis; policies for the rapid reduction in unemployment; guaranteeing social services and infrastructure, with an increase in state funding for training, health care, and social protection; ensuring the country's supplies of food, medicine, and fuel; developing public transport, especially rail, throughout the mainland, and ensuring transport to the islands through the creation of a "social-public" shipping company and strengthening shipping through the signing of a national agreement with the shipping sector and shipowners.

He called for Greece to stop being a guinea pig for neo-liberal experiments and become instead a model for progressive solutions across Europe. His party would annul the memorandum and renegotiate the loan agreement. He would then implement a moratorium on interest payments of the external debt for a specific period of time and write-off a substantial part of the balance and its repayment with a "growth clause ... precisely as the case with Germany in 1953."

Tsipras claimed that tax revenue could be increased through a progressive reform of the taxation system, the establishment of a full and completely electronic property registry and the reorganization, modernization and staffing of the tax offices with specialized personnel.

He proposed the establishment of a public bank with the specific task of financing businesses.

He reiterated that Syriza was against the sell-off of state property.