Syriza decision to partner with ANEL angers S&D
It’s the first time that Pittella has taken such a hard line against Tsipras, considering that during the tough negotiations between Athens and its international creditors, the S&D group was quite supportive of Tsipras.
“We consider Tsipras’ decision to form a government with the right-wing party ANEL a strategic mistake which could badly affect the path of reforms in Greece,” Pittella said.
Similar concerns were also expressed by the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz. Speaking to France Inter radio, Schulz said he could not understand Tsipras’ decision to renew his coalition with the Independent Greeks.
“I called him [Tsipras] a second time to ask him why he was continuing a coalition with this strange, far-right party,” Schulz said.
“He pretty much didn’t answer. He is very clever, especially by telephone. He told me things that seemed convincing, but which ultimately, in my eyes, are a little bizarre.”
Pittella continued, saying that the best option for the good of Greek people “would be a coalition government established with all progressive forces, namely To Potami and Pasok”.
“Such a government would be the best guarantee for stability and for a responsible implementation of the memorandum, without setting aside the social dimension, which is paramount for the population most at need.”
Potami scored 4% of the vote, down from the 6% in the general elections in January, while the Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (Pasok) increased its share of the vote from 4.7% in January to 6.3%.
Several Syriza lawmakers have a socialist background, and publicly support a centreleft shift.
The official S&D party members Greece are Pasok, as well as Potami.
In a recent interview with EurActiv Greece, ex-Syriza health minister Panagiotis Kouroumplis stressed that a progressive pole was needed in Greek politics.
“Syriza should be the centre of a wider progressive party that will emerge as a counterweight to right-wing, and neoliberal policies”.
Asked if the S&D would be ready to “embrace” Syriza, Pittella did not rule it out.
“I don’t know whether Tsipras foresees this final goal. Should it be the case, we will verify the political opportunity of this choice along with our comrades of Pasok and To Potami, already official members of the S&D Group,” he said.
Surprisingly, during the run-up to the Greek elections, S&D did not openly support Pasok and Potami.
On the contrary, in a press release published after the announcement of the elections results, S&D emphasised the need for a “progressive government with all the progressive forces”, which would include Syriza, Pasok and Potami.
Pittella continued, saying that the S&D group openly committed in the tough negotiations with the European Commission, to help “not Syriza or Tsipras, but the Greek people, to find the best solution that would prevent Greece from abandoning the eurozone”.