Responding to questions in Parliament on Friday, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras stressed that Greece will stick to its “red lines” in negotiations with creditors, protecting pensions and the labor sector.
On the issue of negotiations, Tsipras said the government has done all it can to reach an “honorable agreement” over the past few days. He turned down a request by the leader of the centrist Potami, Stavros Theodorakis, for a meeting of party leaders under President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, but said he was open to dialogue with opposition leaders who he invited to embrace leftist SYRIZA’s red lines in talks with creditors.
“You are referring to a meeting with the other two that are pro-memorandum,” Tsipras said, referring to New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras and PASOK chief Evangelos Venizelos. “There is no need to bother the president. There are other ways to do it.” “I invite you to [adopt] the red lines defending the pension system which was destroyed by the haircut,” he said, “and the right of workers to negotiate collective wage contracts.”
Theodorakis underlined the need for a “large alliance to take the country forward.” But Tsipras responded by referring to a “hard core that is resisting.” “I invite you to cut yourselves off from them, they will drag you down,” he told Theodorakis. “Despite the tough negotiations we have not shied from putting our cards on the table,” Tsipras added, noting that he has visited Parliament more times in his three months as premier than his predecessor Samaras did in two-and-a-half years running the country.
Tsipras defended his government’s changes to the education system and claimed that Potami’s objections to the reforms were groundless.
Tsipras also took the opportunity to take a dig at Potami MP Haris Theoharis, the previous government’s general secretary for revenues, claiming that he had appointed tax officers based on instructions sent by email from Greece’s creditors.