SYRIZA chief in German charm drive

As government officials prepare to enter a new round of tough negotiations with representatives of Greece?s foreign creditors on a new austerity package, the leader of the main leftist opposition SYRIZA, Alexis Tsipras, during a speech in Hamburg on Saturday, said that the measures will only plunge the country deeper into recession and necessitate the need for a third and possibly even a fourth debt restructuring.

In what appeared to have been planned as a charm offensive, Tsipras told a conference organized by the respected German newspaper Die Zeit that ?Europe needs Germany and, even more, it needs its unrivaled logic.? Lauding Germany as the country of Kant, Goethe, Beethoven and Einstein, Tsipras stressed that the country had embraced Greeks who resisted the 1967-74 dictatorship. ?Such things are not forgotten,? he said.

In a clear attempt to appeal to German public opinion -- which has been largely critical of Greece and the repercussions of its debt problems -- Tsipras expressed respect for German taxpayers, warning however that their money was going toward propping up bankrupt banks.

As for a new set of austerity measures that the Greek government is planning to impose in order to clinch rescue funding, which will largely go toward recapitalizing local banks, Tsipras said they would simply ?sink Greece into an even deeper recession and poverty.? Responding to widespread speculation about a third restructuring of Greece?s debt, the leftist leader said it was inevitable, noting that what should now be discussed is ?how to avoid a fourth.?

Tsipras?s party, which sailed into second place in June?s general elections after campaigning on a strong anti-austerity platform, has said it will fight the approval of the austerity measures in Parliament and, if they are passed into law as expected, continue its protests against their implementation by supporting public protests.