‘EU leaders see Syriza as threat to neo-liberal Europe’
RT:The European parliament president, Martin Schulz, said that more emergency loans to Greece are possible. Do you trust the creditors to keep the talks going if Greece says ‘No’ in the referendum?
Anastasia Giamali: If the Greeks say “No,” the Greek government believes that it will return to the negotiating table with a stronger mandate for a solution and for an adjustment of the Greek economy but with humane terms – with the Greek people and their lives taken into consideration.
RT:Gregor Gysi, a German opposition politician of the socialist Die Linke political party, said that EU leaders are trying to topple the Greek government. What’s your opinion of such a viewpoint?
AG: I agree 100 percent. I think that since Syriza took power in January, for the past five months while the government is trying its best to negotiate a workable deal with many compromises to the creditors, the creditors [have remained] hostile… to every solution proposed by the Greek government. I think they see Syriza and the left-wing government as a threat to a neo-liberal Europe.
RT:Many economists are saying that the Greek debt is unpayable. What would happen to its economy in case of a “Yes” vote?
AG: First of all, I would agree with you that renowned economists said so: Nobel Prize winners Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz, Thomas Piketty – these are just a few. But the situation is: the opposition is presenting ‘Yes’ as a ‘Yes’ to the EU and the Eurozone. But in reality it’s a ‘Yes’ to austerity, it’s a blank cheque for more austerity, for more severe measures and more cuts to pensions and wages. In the past five years, wages have fallen by 37 percent in Greece and pensions have fallen by 47 percent. We cannot take austerity any longer.
RT:Five years ago, the creditors were hailed as the “saviors of Greece”, but now the government in Athens is comparing them to “terrorists” of some sort. How would you explain such a drastic shift in opinion?
AG: For the past five years, the previous right-wing government was doing nothing to negotiate with the creditors – they were begging the creditors for a solution and for more bailout packages. The left-wing government is saying “No” to the creditors and their ultimatum. Last week the creditors proposed to Greece a “take it or leave it” deal. The Greek prime minister said that the lives of 11 million people is not a game and not something to play with. So, “we are stepping out [of] the negotiating room and we are taking this question to the people.” I’d say that it’s very normal to the Greek people to say “No” to an agreement that says “No” to taxing the rich, but says “don’t tax the rich, cut more, increase VAT, increase VAT in the islands and privatize everything.”
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.