ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece won’t seek a third bailout deal, the prime minister said Saturday, having succeeded in separating the loan agreement from the “disastrous” austerity conditions imposed with the willing cooperation of previous governments.
Alexis Tsipras spoke Saturday at the start of a two-day meeting of his party’s central committee. The Syriza committee will elect a new general secretary and members of the political secretariat, replacing those members who were elected to Parliament in the January election.
Tsipras warned that although a “difficult battle in a long and difficult war” was won with the loan extension, difficulties lie ahead. And he recounted, for the benefit of the party membership, what transpired in the negotiations that led to the conditional loan extension agreement in the Eurogroup.
“We said ... many noes in the past few days,” despite the sometimes unbearable pressure and blackmail, Tsipras told the party members.
“We joined the battle in Europe with every step undermined,” claimed Tsipras. “The most aggressive European conservative forces, in cooperation with the (ex-Premier Antonis) Samaras government, had sprung up a trap to derail us before we had even governed.”
Tsipras said he was referring to the extension of the second bailout agreement by only two months; a credit crunch; an empty treasury and banks “on the edge” of illiquidity; and commitments on further tough austerity measures.
“They had everything set up to shipwreck us ... and the country,” Tsipras said.
The prime minister singled out Spain and Portugal as leaders of “an axis of forces” that “for obvious political reasons were trying to lead the negotiation to the edge of the precipice, taking the risk of developments spiraling out of control, so that they could avoid internal political risk.
“Their plan was, and remains, the rapid wear and tear of our government, its overthrow, or (alternatively) its unconditional surrender before the government’s actions begin bearing fruit and before the Greek example influences...other countries. And, especially, before elections in Spain,” Tsipras said.