PM ad­mits there was a ‘Plan B’

Tsipras backs Varoufakis, shifts fo­cus to se­cur­ing deal with cred­i­tors af­ter re­assert­ing hold over SYRIZA

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras on Fri­day con­firmed that he asked for­mer Fi­nance Min­is­ter Yanis Varoufakis to draft a con­tin­gency plan in case Greece was forced to leave the euro, claim­ing that it was the duty of the gov­ern­ment to be pre­pared.

“Of course I per­son­ally gave the or­der to the fi­nance min­is­ter to set up a team and draft a plan of de­fense in case of emer­gency,” Tsipras told Par­lia­ment, re­spond­ing to a ques­tion by PA­SOK leader Fofi Gen­ni­mata. “I would have been po­lit­i­cally naive and irre- spon­si­ble if I hadn’t done so. We didn’t de­sign or have an exit plan but we had an emer­gency plan as we were obliged to,” he said. “If our part­ners had a Grexit plan on the ta­ble, shouldn’t we have been pre­pared?,” Tsipras said. If the SYRIZA-led gov­ern­ment had plot­ted to take Greece out of the euro, why would they not have done so, with a 63 per­cent “no” vote in a re­cent ref­er­en­dum on an aus­ter­ity pro­posal by cred­i­tors, he re­marked.

Tsipras de­fended Varoufakis, say­ing the for­mer min­is­ter may have made mis­takes “but he never moved his money out of the coun­try... and he never hid the names of Greek taxpayers in the drawer,” re­fer­ring to a se­ries of for­mer fi­nance min­is­ters. “You can blame him as much as you like for his po­lit­i­cal plans, for his state­ments, for his taste in shirts... but you can­not call him a crook,” Tsipras said.

Con­ser­va­tive op­po­si­tion New Democ­racy re­sponded that it was more con­cerned than be­fore. “What ex­actly did Mr Tsipras give an or­der for?” ND’s state­ment said, seek­ing de­tails of what the “Plan B” en­tailed. “Did it in­clude a raid on the mint, the is­su­ing of IOUs? Did it in­volve a par­al­lel pay­ment sys­tem? And to what ex­tent are these things con­sti­tu­tional?”

Varoufakis caused a stir ear­lier this week by ad­mit­ting that he had planned to hack into Greece’s online tax data­base and set up a par­al­lel bank­ing sys­tem. A pros­e­cu­tor has launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion but the probe will not fo­cus on Varoufakis who en­joys im­mu­nity as a for­mer min­is­ter.

Tsipras is ex­pected now to fo­cus on se­cur­ing a deal with Greece’s cred­i­tors af­ter re­assert­ing his hold over SYRIZA. A vote by the party’s cen­tral com­mit­tee late on Thurs­day backed his pro­posal for a party congress in Septem­ber rather than a congress now or a ref­er­en­dum on Greece’s agree­ment to launch talks with cred­i­tors, as some party rad­i­cals had wanted. Tsipras is to speak to sev­eral Euro­pean peers by tele­phone over the com­ing days in a bid to push for a swift deal, sources close to him said.

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