In an appearance likely to have pleased the left wing of his party, SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras said on Wednesday that Greece must focus on how to end austerity rather than whether it can stay in the euro.
Returning to ground he had covered before the two general elections last summer, Tsipras repeated his mantra that his preference is for Greece to remain in the eurozone but that it should not aim to do so at all costs.
“The euro is not the focal point,” he said. “The dilemma we are facing is not whether we will be in the euro or not but whether we will be in austerity. Our main concern is to avoid austerity.
“Our aim is to save Greece in the euro and not to save the euro no matter what.”
Tsipras also called for all the banks being recapitalized by the Hellenic Financial Stability Facility (HFSF) to be nationalized.
Holding his press conference a day before the arrival of the troika in Athens, the SYRIZA leader accused Prime Minister Antonis Samaras of waiting for the visiting officials with “a bouquet of yeses.”
Tsipras insisted that as premier, he would take a tougher negotiating line with the troika, who he referred to as a “white-collar gang,” and not succumb to the “blackmail” Cyprus suffered.
“We are working on scenarios around which we will construct our negotiating tactics and examine chances for maneuver,” he said, adding that SYRIZA would soon be taking “significant steps” to create alliances to ensure “the balance of power is not totally negative.”