NEWS

Tsipras says Cyprus has changed bailout dynamic, sees ‘suspension’ of memorandum

SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras said on Tuesday that the handling of the crisis in Cyprus had fundamentally changed the way Greeks should see their country’s bailout, but he also stopped short of saying that a leftist government would tear up the existing loan agreement with the eurozone and International Monetary Fund.

Speaking at the Economist conference in Athens yesterday, Tsipras speculated that Prime Minister Antonis Samaras might be “preparing for elections and a heroic departure.” “We encourage him to take this step. It will be good for him and the country,” added the SYRIZA leader.

Apart from his attack on Samaras and the government, Tsipras adopted a more moderate stance than usual, saying that SYRIZA would “suspend” the EU-IMF loan memorandum rather than “cancel” the agreement, as he has tended to say recently.

The leftist politician however insisted that the Cyprus bailout had fundamentally changed the way that the loan agreements should be regarded. “The dogma of sticking to the memorandum so we are not exposed to risk no longer stands,” he said. “Until Cyprus, we knew that the memorandum would not protect living standards but would at least safeguard bank deposits and the economy from a disorderly default. After Cyprus, there can be no such dilemma as memorandum or bankruptcy.”

Tsipras added that SYRIZA would restore minimum wages to the level of 2011, before they were cut 22 percent.