No to ‘EU colony’: Tsipras faces opposition from govt & people against bailout deal

Returning to Athens on Monday with a new deal for a bailout package that would keep Greece in the eurozone, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is facing strong opposition to the agreement within his own government, as well as protests in the streets.

After long hours of talks on Sunday and Monday with eurozone leaders, Tsipras might have some more sleepless nights ahead, as now the Greek parliament needs to approve all of the laws implementing the reforms by an EU-imposed deadline of July 15 in order to receive billions of euros in aid.

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The deal has already been dubbed the most intrusive EU program for a bailout in history, with some Greek officials calling it an excessive price to pay. Former Greek ambassador Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos called it “too tough, too late, the death of Greeks.”

“These absurd measures do not reflect the EU we entered back in 1981. It has actually made Greece a colony of Germany, not to say of the European Union,” he told RT, adding that “despite the concessions the EU has made to Greece, the country is far from being out of the crisis.”

Panos Kammenos, leader of right-wing coalition partner Independent Greeks and Greece’s Defense Minister, said his party was against the agreement. The proposed deal is a “coup staged by Germany and other countries,” he said, as cited by AP.

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“This deal introduced many new issues...we cannot agree with it,” Kammenos said after meeting with Alexis Tsipras, whose six-month-old government is struggling to maintain its majority in parliament.

Other Greek officials also put the blame on Germany. “Germany unfortunately for a third time in 100 years is attempting to destroy Europe,” Nikos Filis, the parliamentary spokesman for Syriza lawmakers, said on local television, as quoted by Reuters.

The radical Left Platform, a faction of Tsipras’s ruling Syriza party, called the deal a “humiliation of Greece,” Financial Times reported on Monday.

The unpopular measures accepted by Tsipras for debt-stricken Greece have also angered the Greek people, who voted against further austerity reforms in a recent national referendum. Hundreds of protesters turned out to decry the agreement reached by Eurogroup members and the Greek PM on Monday, demonstrating their outrage by burning a Syriza flag outside the Hellenic Parliament in central Athens.

“They are trying to show that there is no other way. And the Greek people are not going to stand for it, they didn’t vote ‘no’ in the referendum for nothing. They didn’t vote for a ‘yes’ to become a ‘no.’ They voted for ending austerity,” an Athens resident told RT’s Daniel Hawkins.

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Infuriated by the possibility of new austerity measures, protesters carried posters that read “Agreement equals submission for the people and humiliation for the left” and “NO to the robbers of EU, ECB, IMF and their local collaborators” among others, Ruptly reported on Monday.

Justifying his acceptance of unpopular measures in Brussels, including pension reform, reform of product markets and privatization, the Syriza leader said that the agreement was complex, but the bailout would allow Greece to avoid the transfer of its state property abroad, as well as financial strangulation and destruction of the financial system.

Western critics of the agreement said the deal could trigger social and political unrest across the EU, or could even spell “the end of democracy in Europe.”

“It makes matters worse not just for Greece – the social and political pain will be intense, never mind the financial and economic pain. But it makes it worse for the eurozone, because in order for Greece to be able to repay, she has to be able to generate income. And by starving the economy to death you just really don’t ensure a future income,” Ann Pettifor, Director of Policy Research in Macroeconomics (PRIME) told RT.