Events of 2015 back in the limelight

Events of 2015 back in the limelight

The events of early 2015, when SYRIZA was negotiating austerity terms with Greece’s creditors, stole the limelight again yesterday in Parliament, with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stressing the need for a public discussion on what exactly happened in the first half of 2015 when SYRIZA came to power and negotiated Greece’s bailout.

“Maybe it’s time the discussion on what happened in 2015 took place,” Mitsotakis said, referring to the first six months of 2015 when the leftist party was in power under Alexis Tsipras. 

His remarks were prompted by the claim earlier in the session by Yanis Varoufakis, leader of the MeRA25 party and the country’s finance minister at the time, that Tsipras had tried to strike a deal with creditors to secure favorable terms regarding labor issues in exchange for Greece achieving higher budgetary surplus targets. 

Indeed, Mitsotakis interrupted Varoufakis while he was making his assertion, to ask, “When exactly did Tsipras tell you about the deal?” 

“In 2015. You know very well I was only in the government for very few months,” Varoufakis responded. 

Shortly afterward, Mitsotakis berated Tsipras, noting that he is always absent from the chamber when his former finance minister takes the podium. 

“Why are you always absent? Varoufakis said some very interesting things today,” he told Tsipras, and asked if it was true that he had indeed offered higher surplus targets in exchange for better terms regarding labor issues. 

“I had not heard about this before,” Mitsotakis said, asking if that was why Greece was saddled with high surplus targets.

“We must have both of you in the chamber to understand what happened in those sinful first six months [of 2015],” he added.

A visibly annoyed Tsipras responded by accusing Mitsotakis of currying favor with Varoufakis. 

“You have taken a particular liking to the person who you said destroyed the country in the first six months of 2015, the person who you said ruined the banks, the person who you said indebted the country – 50 billion, 100 billion, 150 billion, 200 billion. Now you love him so much?” Tsipras said.

Meanwhile, Varoufakis submitted an envelope to Parliament which allegedly contained his secret audio recordings from the Eurogroup meetings while he was negotiating for the government in the first half of 2015.

Varoufakis said he expected House Speaker Kostas Tasoulas to forward the content to Greek lawmakers. Tasoulas, however, said he had no intention of sharing the recordings.

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