Tsipras Is Ready To 'Say the Big No'

June 18, 2015

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras yesterday declared that Greece is prepared to "say the big no" if the so-called creditors continue to make unacceptable demands.

In a speech to parliament, Tsipras said: "I'm certain future historians will recognize that little Greece, with its little power, is today fighting a battle beyond its capacity not just on its own behalf but on behalf of the people of Europe."

Following a meeting with Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann, Tsipras said the institutions' insistence on increasing revenues from pension cuts is incomprehensible; the Greek government has a specific mandate to reach a sustainable agreement. Tsipras added that he is not contemplating new elections and that it will be the government and the parliament that will take the decision. "If we do not have an honorable compromise, we will once again say the big no," he stressed, reported Athens-Macedonian New Agency (ANA-MPA).

On June 16, in his address to before the Syriza faction MPs, Tsipras laid out three conditions for a settlement. This includes debt relief, no burdening of pensioners and workers, and an end to any discussion about Greece leaving the Eurozone, the "Grexit." He attacked the International Monetary Fund and the EU, saying, "Right now, what dominates is the IMF's harsh views on tough measures, and Europe's insistence on denying any discussion over debt sustainability," Tsipras said, and charged that the IMF bore "criminal responsibility" for the impact of the austerity measures Greece.

Greek Production Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis blamed Greece's creditors and institutions Tuesday for the lack of an agreement in the ongoing negotiations.

"The responsibility for the fact that we don't have a deal rests solely on the creditors and the institutions that are not negotiating with the government but are demanding unconditional subordination...The government has clarified that Greece is not a protectorate nor a banana republic, nor willing to subscribe to the extermination of the Greek people. We've made proposals for a deal which is absolutely compatible with our program, which can lift the country on its feet and provide a positive exit from the crisis."

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew spoke by telephone with Tsipras last night, and recommended that he make a "pragmatic compromise."