NEWS

Greek PM hits out at creditors, warns of return to austerity

Greek PM hits out at creditors, warns of return to austerity

A day after the European Commission issued a report warning that the government’s new handouts could provoke a fiscal derailment, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras hit out at creditors, suggesting that some officials are exploiting the victory of conservative New Democracy in the recent European Parliament election to undermine his administration’s relief policies.

“The results of the elections whetted the appetite of the old political establishment in Greece and ultra-conservative circles in Brussels to question our political choices and obstruct our plans,” Tsipras told journalists.

He said a snap general election scheduled for July 7 would be critical, warning Greeks that, depending on how they vote, a “return to the dark days” of austerity in Greece could be in the cards.

Tsipras also hit out at a reference in the report to a need for a reduction in the ranks of short-term contract workers in the civil service. “We haven’t had that issue since 2014,” he said, noting that ND leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis had been administrative reform minister, overseeing the public sector, during that period.

Commenting on the EC’s report, Mitsotakis said it simply pointed to what he has been emphasizing for a long time, namely “the massive laxity in the implementation of significant reforms for improving the efficiency of the state administration.”

Mitsotakis said ND did not have any significant disagreements with Greece’s creditors, adding that the center-right party has prepared a front-loaded agenda of reforms aimed at boosting growth rates to create more jobs.

The ND leader met with US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt Thursday for talks that focused on the economy as well as bilateral and regional issues.