Greece will stay in the eurozone while also fighting against the politics of austerity “which is ruining Europe” if the radical left-wing Syriza party wins this month’s general election, its leader said Sunday. “It’s clear from any point of view that the subject of Greece leaving the euro simply does not exist,” Alexis Tsipras told Greek weekly Realnews.
Global markets have been shaken by fears that Greece could abandon the euro if Syriza wins the election on January 25. But Tsipras said the idea of Greece quitting the eurozone was “alarmism” dating from 2012 at the height of Greece’s crisis which led to a 240-billion-euro ($282 billion) international bailout. “The climate is completely different now,” he said.
“The only person talking about this eventuality is (Prime Minister) Antonis Samaras, but it is denied day after day by high-ranking European officials,” the Syriza chief said. The European Commission said last week a country’s membership in the eurozone is “irrevocable”.
Samaras, the conservative premier who is Tsipras’ main rival in the election, has warned it would be disastrous if Syriza wins the election and ends the austerity policies imposed on Greece by the conditions of its European Union-International Monetary Fund creditors.
But Tsipras said Greece “will lead the way in fighting against the politics of austerity which are ruining Europe, strengthening the far-right and plunging the European economy into recession”. If he wins power, his priorities would be to adopt measures to ease what he called a “humanitarian crisis” in Greece. On Saturday, Samaras vowed to pursue reforms while gradually lowering taxes as central planks of a programme he hopes will secure victory.