German Politicians have issued a stark warning to Greece’s new government that the economic reforms imposed by the EU must continue, the International Business Times reports.
Alexis Tsipras’s Syriza secured victory in the Greek elections on Sunday and have formed a coalition with the right wing Independent Greeks party and was sworn in by the country’s President Papoulias.
He campaigned on a message of anti-austerity that was welcomed by the Greek population who have been suffering from the prison of eurozone membership where they do not have control over their own monetary policy.
They have had five years of crippling repayments which have left people unable to survive financially and youth unemployment is over 50 per cent. One in five people cannot afford basic food stuffs and there have been cases of suicides and people handing their children over for adoption because they cannot afford to feed them.
But despite this ill-fitting economy straightjacket the Greeks have been forced into, the message from Europe’s power house was clear. A German government spokesman Steggan Seibert said that Tsipras must “take measures so that the economic recovery continues.”
“A part of that is Greece holding to its prior commitments and that the new government be tied in to the reform’s achievements,” he said.
These sentiments were echoed by the President of the Eurogroup Jeroen Dijsselbloem following a meeting of European finance ministers.
He said there was “very little support for a write off in Europe” referring to Tsipras’s request to renegotiate its crippling debts. “All Eurozone members should abide by the rules and commitments” he said.
These words are likely to be deeply unwelcome in Greece, who voted for the man who, like them, is also unhappy with the settlement which they feel was forced on the nation.
But there is no doubt that the determination of Tsipras is believed, with his victory sending shockwaves around European markets and the euro briefly recording an 11 year low against the dollar before recovering. The Athens stock market ended the day down on 3.2 per cent – nowhere near the meltdown that was spoken of immediately following Syriza’s victory. The stabilisation of the euro on the international markets is a signal that investors do not believe that there will be a ‘Grexit’.
The new leader did reassure investors, saying that Greece would not seek confrontation but wanted to negotiate with other Eurozone members.
“The new Greek government will be ready to co-operate and negotiate for the first time with our peers a just, mutually beneficial and viable solution,” he said.
The next key stage will be the summit on 12 February where not only is British Prime Minister David Cameron expected to outline his ideas for reform but Mr Tsipras will attend in order to try flesh out a deal before the current bail out arrangements end on 28th February.
After being sworn in, Tsipras said he would give his all “to protect the interests of the Greek people” before signing the book traditional for all newly sworn in prime ministers.
His first act as the new Prime Minister was to lay flowers at the National Resistance Memorial at Kaiariani, a suburb of Athens, where hundreds of communist resistance fighters were executed by the Nazis on May 1 1944. Tsipras himself, although now not a member of the Communist Party, was so in his younger days as was his partner.