Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras gave another speech on state TV Friday, repeating calls for Greeks to vote “No” in Sunday’s bailout referendum with some pretty heavy language.
In a short speech Tsipras called for Greeks to reject “ultimatums, blackmails, and the campaign of fear” by voting “No” to the current bailout proposals on offer in the July 5 referendum.
That’s a pretty thinnly veiled attack at Greece’s creditors, the Eurogroup, who have been saying a “No” vote would make things harder for the country and calling for Greeks to vote “Yes.”
Tsipras repeated his point made in a TV speech earlier in the week that Sunday’s referendum is not about Eurozone membership and a “No” vote would give Greece more bargaining power.
Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker both say a rejection of the current bailout proposals could lead to a so-called “Grexit” — Greece leaving the euro.
The current bailout deal being voted on would impose more austerity on Greece, which has already seen its economy shrink by around a quarter in the last 5 years.
Tsipras wants a fairer deal and hailed the latest International Monetary Fund (IMF) report on Greece’s debt as a “vindication” for his Syriza party’s decision to reject the latest proposals.
The IMF admitted Thursday that Greece’s debts need restructuring, which has been a key demand of the Greek government during negotiations, but something the Eurogroup has been stubborn on.
The report recommends reducing Greek debts and giving the country a grace period of 20 years to get its economy back on its feet before having to pay anything back. Tsipras said he wants exactly that.
Tsipras is taking a fairly simple view of the IMF report — the full document says the restructure is needed mainly because of the dramatic deterioration of Greece’s economy since Syriza came to power and calls for pretty heavy reforms. That’s not exactly a “vindication” but hey.
Tsipras urged Greek’s to act with “civility” towards those of opposing views and said the time has come for “responsibility and democracy.”
The Greek Prime Minister is set to give a speech at the “No” campaign’s rally in Syntagma Square in Athens tonight.
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