Tsipras slams Schulz, suggesting EC candidate supports Merkel policies

Leftist SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras on Friday lashed out against the outgoing president of the European Parliament and candidate for the presidency of the European Commission Martin Schulz, claiming that the German official was casting himself as "the chosen one of Merkel in Europe," referring to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Tsipras, who is the European Left Party's candidate for EC president, made the comments in an interview with the German news agency DPA, after Schulz commented that Merkel, whose government has pursued a stringent austerity policy against Greece and other European member states, "should not be blamed for every negative development in Europe."

"With this statement, Mr Schulz made public his desire to be Merkel's chosen one in Europe," Tsipras said. "The question is whether that's what the social base of the Social Democrats want," he said, asking whether "the simple voters of SPD want to see Merkel out of control in Europe or a Europe that is a democratic counterweight to the arrogance and arbitrariness of neoliberalism."

SYRIZA has surged ahead in recent opinion polls, securing a clear lead over conservative New Democracy, which leads Greece's ruling coalition.