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Tsipras proposes euro debt conference, gov't claims SYRIZA inconsistency

SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras has proposed that the eurozone hold a debt conference to resolve the economic problems of its southern periphery.

Speaking to The Guardian, Tsipras suggested the conference should mirror one held to settle post-Second World War Germany’s debts, as the recent agreement to reduce what Greece owes would not be successful.

"It is quite clear that the latest agreement was a compromise that will only perpetuate the uncertainty … Merkel has to say to her people before [the 2013 German] elections that the programme is not working,» he told the newspaper.

"The only viable solution is a haircut not only for Greece but the entire southern periphery.

"That is why we are proposing a conference along the lines of the one that took place in London in 1953, which relieved Germany of around 60% of its debt. We want to agree with our lenders on a credible solution. It doesn't matter where it takes place but it should happen as soon as possible."

Tsipras repeated his position that the current debt crisis in Greece and other parts of the eurozone could not be tackled through austerity.

"When the crisis began in 2009 our debt stood at 120 percent of our GDP. This year it is projected officially to be 175.6 percent. And now they [EU-IMF] say that to make the debt viable we must hit 124 percent of GDP by 2020,» he said.

"Let's suppose they are right – but how do they want to get there? After 12 years of catastrophic austerity and measures totalling 19 billion euros Greece will have become a no-man's land."

Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou accused Tsipras’s party of being double-faced in its position on European issues, with part of SYRIZA advocating a return to the drachma.

“Who was Mr Tsipras addressing with the pro-European face he wore [in the interview]?” said Kedikoglou in a statement. “Certainly not the SYRIZA factions that insist on showing faith to the drachma lobby.”

ekathimerini.com , Monday December 10, 2012 (15:32)  
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