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Alexis Tsipras: “Angela Merkel Doesn’t Own Europe”

Translated Monday 4 June 2012, by Gene Zbikowski and reviewed by Bill Scoble

Alexis Tsipras was received by the deputies of the French Communist Party and of the Front de gauche at the French National Assembly on the afternoon of May 21. The leader of Syriza, the coalition that is best placed in the Greek opinion polls in the run-up to the June 17 legislative elections, is calling on Europeans to break with austerity and to change European Union strategy.

The leader of the left-wing coalition spoke beside Pierre Laurent, the president of the European Party of the Left, and Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the Front de gauche presidential candidate. He stated that the fate of Greece must be decided at the Greek ballot box, not in Berlin, at German chancellor Angela Merkel’s office, nor in Frankfurt, the seat of the European Central Bank, nor in Washington, at the seat of the International Monetary Fund.

“Greece is a sovereign country”

“Greece is a sovereign country. It’s not for Mrs. Merkel to decide whether we shall advance towards a referendum or not. Mrs. Merkel has to understand that she’s a partner like the others (…) in a euro zone that has no tenant or landlord,” the leader of Syriza stated before going to Berlin on May 22.

The legislative elections are expected to sanction the austerity plan imposed on Greece by the European Union, the International Monetary Fund, and the European Central Bank. “There’s nothing to negotiate in the memorandum. You don’t negotiate with hell. What has to be re-discussed isn’t the memorandum, it’s the sovereign debt,” he said.

As for French president François Hollande, whom Alexis Tsipras wishes to meet, Tsipras explained that he “understands that he (Hollande) only wants to meet heads of government.” But, he warns, “it will not be easy for François Hollande to go back on his promises, otherwise he’ll become Hollandreou.” He thus made his own a pun made by Jean-Luc Mélenchon during the French presidential election campaign. “François Hollande has to understand that he must answer crucial questions. If the French sent Nicolas Sarkozy on holiday in Morocco, it’s up to Hollande to conduct a policy different from Nicolas Sarkozy’s.”


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