Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras began his brief tour of Europe on Monday by telling his French audience that his party’s opposition to austerity is in the interests of all Europeans.
Tsipras held talks in Paris with the leader of France’s Left Front, Jean-Luc Melenchon, who won 11 percent in the country’s recent presidential race. In a show of unity, the two men sat side by side at a news conference. Tsipras is due to meet with German leftists on Tuesday, when he is expected to continue his criticism of Greece’s EU-IMF loan deal.
“This is a European experiment to inflict a neoliberal political shock on a country which will lead to an unprecedented humanitarian crisis,” he said. “We are here in Paris and we will be in Germany tomorrow to explain to European people that we have nothing against them. We have no differences to settle.
“In Greece, we are fighting on behalf of Germans, French and all European people.”
Tsipras said: “Financial capital, bankers and capitalists have joined forces in a European union against Greeks. They want to destroy Greece so they can attack Europe.”
Tsipras referred to New Democracy chief Antonis Samaras as an “imitation” of defeated conservative French President Nicolas Sarkozy and called on the latter’s successor, Socialist Francois Hollande, to live up to promises about growth. Hollande turned down the chance to meet Tsipras, citing protocol.
“[Hollande] should know that he will soon have to answer crucial questions,” said the Greek leftist. “He will mainly have to answer whether all he said before the elections is valid after the elections because the French people sent Mr Sarkozy to vacation in Morocco not so he could be replaced by someone that will implement the same policy but by someone that will change that policy.”
Tsipras underlined that he has no intention of renegotiating the EU-IMF memorandum but intends to reject it. “The dilemma at these elections is catastrophic austerity or the prospect of hope by canceling the memorandum,” he told reporters. “The memorandum cannot be negotiated because hell cannot be negotiated.”