Prime Minister Tsipras: 'A People, A Country Doesn't Go Bankrupt, Banks Go Bankrupt'

July 1, 2015

Prime Minister Tsipras gave an interview on Greece's public TV network on Sunday night, making clear that Greece will survive as a sovereign state. He stated, as a point of principle, "A people, a country doesn't go bankrupt; banks go bankrupt." This stands out, as, during the ensuing hours, EU figures and agencies acted to cut off Greece from liquidity, and issue ultimata and insult in the process.

The sequence: At midnight Sunday night, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker issued another proposal which the Greeks considered entirely insufficient. Yesterday morning, Prime Minister Tsipras issued a counter-proposal of measures in a letter to the Eurogroup. The proposals included calling for debt "reprofiling" and restructuring, and calling for liquidity arrangements to be continued through the European Stability Mechanism for two years.

Then last night, the Eurogroup of euro area finance ministers held a 90-minute tele-conference, and decreed rejection of the Tsipras offer. The European Stability Mechanism announced that as of yesterday, Greece is no longer in the ESM program at all. This means, among other things, cancellation of the terms under which ECB liquidity could come into the Greek banks.

In his interview Sunday night, Tsipras made clear that Greece will stand on its feet and survive as a sovereign state. He said of the creditors,

"They don't want a collapse of the Eurozone, they want the collapse of hope; they want to reduce the political capital of a government that promised to change things...

"The Greek government does not want an exit or the breakup of the Eurozone, but we will do whatever we can to ensure the survival of the Greek people. A people, a country doesn't go bankrupt, banks go bankrupt....

"We'll survive, we'll stand on our feet, we'll be alive and we'll choose in a sovereign way what our future will be like,"

Tsipras said during the interview.

According to ANA-MPA, when asked what he will do if Greek voters choose "Yes" in the referendum to accept the EU/IMF conditions, he clarified that he is "an all-weather" prime minister. "I didn't assume this position because I love power. I'm in this seat because it was the choice of the people. As long as the people support this decision, I will be present, I will respect the people's verdict, we'll initiate procedures so that what people voted will become a law of the state."

Rejecting claims that the EU would push Greece out of the Eurozone, he said, "They won't do it, because the cost will be too big."

When asked to comment on the IMF loan payment due on June 30th, Tsipras responded, "Let them give us a deal in the evening so that we may pay it." He slammed the ECB for cutting off liquidity to Greek banks, which in turn forced the introduction of capital controls and stressed that "other interventions" may occur by Sunday, July 5. He commented that the banks would reopen for business as soon as the European Central Bank restores liquidity.