The leader of the main leftwing opposition SYRIZA, Alexis Tsipras, is next Tuesday to meet with the ambassadors representing all 27 European Union member states in a bid to boost ties between his party, which is leading in opinion polls, and European representatives in Athens.
According to sources, the initiative for the meetings was taken by the EU’s Cypriot presidency and is part of broader European efforts to develop ties with parties across the political spectrum. Tsipras, who on Thursday is to travel to Barcelona for talks with leftist politicians ahead of regional elections that could bring independence for Catalonia, has repeatedly claimed that the bailout funding being sought by Greece will not be used to prop up the debt-wracked economy. On Tuesday, in an interview with the Al Jazeera television channel, he said Greece needed foreign aid but said that the installment due for release in coming weeks would go straight to local banks before these had been cleared of their bad loans, which he likened to “throwing water into a bottomless barrel.”
In a related development, SYRIZA deputy and veteran leftist Manolis Glezos met on Tuesday with the European Commission’s task force chief in Athens, Horst Reichenbach, and discussed the issue of reparations that Greece is seeking from Germany for losses suffered during World War II. According to sources, Reichenbach was “moved” to meet Glezos, who is best known for tearing down the Nazi flag from the Acropolis in May 1941.