If SYRIZA misses targets it must go, says Lafazanis

Energy Minister Panayiotis Lafazanis believes that SYRIZA should hand over power if it is unable to secure a move away from austerity to more growth-friendly policies and establish greater national sovereignty.

In an interview with Sunday’s Kathimerini, Lafazanis denied that he would be willing to compromise his beliefs in order for the government to reach a deal with lenders and remain in power. “There is nothing more repulsive or alien to me than the idea of power for power’s sake,” he said. “If we cannot succeed, the best thing we can do is hand over the baton. But we can, and will, succeed by showing determination, courage and dedication to our principles.”

Lafazanis suggested that the SYRIZA-led coalition has to do more than just stick by its “red lines,” which include preventing further labor market liberalization and pension cuts. He described this as a “defensive” strategy that would have to be followed by a broader change in policy.

“Our country urgently needs a positive and cohesive program that is progressive and will focus on debt relief, the supply of ample liquidity to the economy and growth based on production,” he explained.

Lafazanis has been in discussions with Russia about the possibility of plans to build the Turkish Stream pipeline including Greece. He said this would lead to the investment of 2 billion euros and the creation of 20,000 jobs by 2019.

“I can assure you that the discussions regarding how to conclude this matter are making very good progress and are probably reaching the home straight,” he said.

The minister said that Greece’s contacts with countries outside the European Union, such as Russia and China, were not aimed at securing the funds to pay off its immediate debts. Instead, they are part of strategy to create a more independent policy aimed at improving the country’s growth prospects.

“We are following an alternative strategy that is beyond the dogma of Euro-Atlantic subjugation,” he said.

“Greece cannot continue with destructive dogmas or with the scaremongering and terror that comes with the supposed protection offered by foreign guardians, under whom the country has often experienced national and economic tragedies.”

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