Mitsotakis to present alternatives in Berlin


As the government attempts to get bailout talks with creditors back on track, the leader of the main opposition New Democracy, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, is due in Berlin Monday and Tuesday for meetings with German Chancellor Angela and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, and is expected to present them with his alternative plan for extracting Greece from its ongoing crisis.

Mitsotakis is expected to emphasize his party’s conviction that the government’s insistence on tax increases have strangled the Greek economy, and pledge to shift the emphasis to cutting back on state spending instead.

What remains unclear is how Mitsotakis will react if German officials press him to back creditors’ calls for the upfront legislation of contingency measures. Mitsotakis has repeatedly said that he will not back further austerity.

In a statement issued over the weekend following a speech given by Alternate Finance Minister Giorgos Houliarakis at the London School of Economics, ND said his comments amounted to an admission that the failures of the current government have brought Greece before the dilemma of a fourth memorandum or Grexit.

Commenting on Mitsotakis’s visit in a speech before SYRIZA’s central committee on Saturday, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was scathing. The opposition leader is going to “pledge his allegiance” to the country’s creditors in the hope of gaining support for his bid to come to power, Tsipras said of his conservative rival.

Mitsotakis is due to meet first Monday with Merkel at the central offices of Germany’s Christian Democratic Union before talks in the afternoon with CDU MPs. In his talks with Merkel, Mitsotakis is expected to focus on his alternative proposals for reviving Greece’s economy as well as broaching the refugee crisis, which has been a key concern of Merkel’s as she is losing support to the German far-right due to her handling of Europe’s migration problem.

On Tuesday, the ND leader is to meet with Schaeuble at the German Finance Ministry and with German entrepreneurs later in the day.