Acrimony mars debate in Greek Parliament on the economy

Acrimony mars debate in Greek Parliament on the economy

Faced with fierce opposition criticism over the recent Eurogroup debt deal and the country’s post-bailout surveillance, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Thursday personally attacked New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, making reference to the Novartis pharmaceutical scandal and accusing him of having shady dealings with foreign officials. 

He also slammed Mitsotakis’s wife, Mareva Grabowski, over an investigation into alleged irregularities over her wealth declaration (“pothen esches” which, however, was shelved last year. 

“The basement of Maximos Mansion will again begin to spread slander and filthy scenarios against political opponents. And of course, Mr Tsipras, you could not resist the temptation to do so,” said Mitsotakis, who had requested the debate on the government’s economic policies. 

Junior coalition party leader Panos Kammenos turned the tension up a notch, accusing conservative lawmakers of illicit activities related “to suitcases of cash” and warned of imminent arrests. 

The contentious issue of pension cuts in 2019, due to be implemented in January, was also raised, with Mitsotakis announcing the submission of an amendment by his party calling for a freeze of the measure.

His announcement followed that of Democratic Alliance leader Fofi Gennimata, who submitted a proposal for legislation that would revoke the cuts.

The developments follow comments by European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici during his visit to Athens earlier this week, which suggested some flexibility on agreed-to post-bailout austerity.

However, expectations that there is scope for flexibility were dampened on Wednesday by Eurogroup leader Mario Centeno, who said that Greece must not deviate from the path of reforms. 

The acrimonious debate drew a scathing commentary from former finance minister Alekos Papadopoulos, who took a swipe at politicians of all stripes, saying the country will not be able to remain in the eurozone with the current “maladjusted” political personnel.

“I watched Parliament today and I consider it my duty to intervene and address that section of the people which has an understanding of the real state the country is in. Greece, in the medium term, will not be able to remain in the eurozone with the maladjusted political personnel it has today,” he said in a statement sent to media.

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