Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Wednesday the government underestimated the degree of dissatisfaction that would be expressed in the EU elections, adding however that the national polls are a new challenge.
“The most tangible proof that we received the message is that we announced elections on the same night,” he said in an interview with private broadcaster Alpha.
Tsipras lashed out against Greece's central banker, Yannis Stournaras, over the concerns he raised on the country's ability to meet its primary surplus target this year due to the government's taχ cuts and handouts, saying “it's not his job to make half-baked predictions.”
He also accused Stournaras of trying to support New Democracy, “instead of minding his own business."
Commenting on the hasty transfers of public sector staff to Parliament a few weeks before the elections, some of which included relatives of high-ranking officials of ruling SYRIZA, Tsipras said he was unaware of the practice and apologized to Greeks, saying “it was wrong.”
Asked whether there is fear of a Greek-Turkish incident in the Aegean in the coming months, the prime minister was quick to assure that, although Greece must be vigilant, there is no real concern.
“Greece has never had stronger alliances than the ones it has now,” he said.
As for Turkey’s announced plans to conduct drilling operations within Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), Tsipras said this would be a serious violation, and pointed to the European Union's prompt reaction.