German taxpayers should not be afraid of a Greek government led by the left-wing SYRIZA party, its leader Alexis Tsipras wrote in an article published on Tuesday in a German business daily.
Speculation is growing that if anti-bailout SYRIZA wins Greece’s January 25 parliamentary election, it will try to renegotiate European Union loans and conditions, possibly provoking a crisis between Athens and its eurozone partners.
There is also concern that Tsipras, whose party is ahead of rivals in opinion polls, will demand another reduction in its foreign debt that could cost German taxpayers up to 40 billion euros, according to some German economists.
“German taxpayers have nothing to fear from a SYRIZA government,” Tsipras wrote in Handelsblatt. “On the contrary. It is not our goal to aim for a confrontation with our partners, to get more credits or a license for new deficits.”
“The aim is to stabilize the country, reach a balanced primary budget and end the bloodletting from German and Greek taxpayers,” he wrote.
But Tsipras said Greece would only be able to pay back its debt if austerity measures were scrapped. “The truth is that Greek debt won’t be paid back as long as our economy is continuously exposed to ‘fiscal waterboarding’,” he said.
Tsipras reiterated that he wanted Greece to stay in the eurozone.
“Our goal is to reach a new agreement — within the eurozone — that would allow the Greek people to breathe … and to live in dignity by restoring debt sustainability and finding a way out of recession through financing growth,” he wrote.
The Greek election has reignited investors’ concerns that tensions between Athens and its partners might eventually lead to Greece leaving the eurozone, an idea known as ‘Grexit’.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has played down the chances of a Grexit, but has made clear she expects Athens to stick to the terms of its international bailouts.