‘New Greek PM makes promises but no one wants to pay for them’

Greece's newly-appointed Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (C) waves as he arrives at his new office in Maximos Mansion following a swearing in ceremony as Greece's first leftist prime minister in Athens, January 26, 2015 (Reuters / Giorgos Kontarinis)
The new Greek government is making its own policy promises and it can’t simply demand a check from European countries to pay for its debts, Beatrix von Storch, MEP from the Alternative for Germany party, told RT.

RT:Now that the new government led by Alexis Tsipras has swept to power in Greece and the policies and promises it has made are not going to be too welcome in Brussels, should we expect relations between Athens and Brussels to worsen?

Andreas Wehr, author and journalist, on the election in Greece: "This is not only the victory of the Syriza party but also of a communist party that gained a better result. We will see what happens on the agenda of the European policy. The euro crisis is back.”

Beatrix von Storch: I think we have to start a discussion and Tsipras made it very clear what he wants to do: he wants to spend money and he doesn’t want to put reforms on the Greece people, which I do understand. The only problem is that he wants us to pay the debts. And I think [these things don’t really] go together. But in general terms, I would say I’m very happy that democracy is working. People are voting a government into power, the government that they want to have. And if their government is making promises… then the government has to see how they can finance all the promises. I think that is what democracy is all about: having people voting the government into power and then the government has to manage and to do the policy on their own. They can’t expect a check from somebody, from some other countries.

RT:Do you think Syriza's victory will unleash populist movements elsewhere in the eurozone?

BS: I think what they did is very clear and that usually works. The same thing is happening in Germany. We have got a German government making promises to other people and they spend more money than they have…The thing is that we still have banks giving loans to us, to pay for things we don’t have the money for. So our government can make all these promises because we’ve got banks lending the money to us. The problem with the Greek policy is that they, and Tsipras especially, he is making promises but no one wants to give money to him, to pay for it. And this is what democracy is all about. You have to manage to make your own policy; you can’t make your own policy, make promises and then take someone else’s money to pay for it. That doesn’t go together and this is what… has come from the election in Greece.

Andreas Wehr, author and journalist, on the election in Greece: “I think it’s a good situation for the left-wingers in other countries like Portugal and Italy and it’s encouraging the situation for them. They look at Greece and they favor the new government of Tsipras and maybe they will follow this example, we will see.”

RT:Last week The President of the European Commission stressed Athens will still have to pay its debts. Is that the last word on the subject?

BS: Well, I’m very interested how it’s going on. I mean I think Tsipras can’t step back from everything he said. I mean he was voted into office for the promises he made, on the one hand. On the other hand the European Central Bank of course and the European countries…are not able to tell their voters and their tax payers that “we spend…billions of euro in Greece with no success.” So that’s really a problem and I’m very interested in how that will end up.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.