SYRIZA deputy and former minister Nikos Filis on Thursday said that the leftist party’s partnership with nationalist Independent Greeks (ANEL) in the Greek coalition government is “temporary, not strategic.”
Speaking at an informal meeting with members of the press in Parliament, the outspoken former education minister was asked to comment on the partnership after having openly criticized ANEL chief and Defense Minister Panos Kammenos over recent plans for military procurements.
“I have no personal issues with Mr. Kammenos. But to hand over 3.5 billion euros for F35 (fighter jets), you need to first have a public discussion, especially given Greece’s current economic circumstances,” Filis said in reference to moves by the defense minister to strengthen the Hellenic Air Force fleet.
Filis was also critical of Kammenos over promises to put military personnel on a different and more privileged pay scale. This, he said, would cost the cash-strapped state an additional 300 million euros in payroll expenses, without the minister having recommended how this money could be raised.
Asked whether majority partner SYRIZA would consider joining forces with PASOK in the event of elections to secure a majority in the 300-seat Parliament, Filis said that the socialists first need to “wean themselves off New Democracy.”
“PASOK needs to come out and publicly state whether it will go with SYRIZA or New Democracy,” Filis said in reference to the opposition conservative party, which has been leading public opinion polls.
“The aim of my comments is to initiate a discussion,” Filis added. “I’m not talking about cooperation today, but a post-election convergence of policy.”