Gov’t sparks Grexit spec­u­la­tion

Op­po­si­tion blasts SYRIZA of­fi­cial for sug­gest­ing that Par­lia­ment de­bate coun­try’s eu­ro­zone mem­ber­ship

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Op­po­si­tion par­ties re­acted with alarm yes­ter­day to com­ments by SYRIZA par­lia­men­tary spokesman Nikos Xy­dakis that MPs should hold a de­bate about Greece’s mem­ber­ship of the euro.

Speak­ing on Skai TV in the morn­ing, Xy­dakis ar­gued that “there should be no taboos when we are talk­ing about peo­ple’s fate.”

“We have reached a point where the pop­u­la­tion does not have the stamina any­more,” he said. “I be­lieve there has to be a po­lit­i­cal and na­tional dis­cus­sion the likes of which has not taken place dur­ing the last seven years. Nat­u­rally, this dis­cus­sion has to start from Par­lia­ment.”

His com­ments prompted an im­me­di­ate and strong re­ac­tion from the op­po­si­tion par­ties. New Democ­racy spokesman Vas­silis Kik­il­ias sug­gested that the gov­ern­ment’s true in­ten­tions are grad­u­ally be­ing re­vealed. PASOK’s Evan­ge­los Venize­los ar­gued that the com­ments were deeply dam­ag­ing for the Greek econ­omy and the coun­try’s in­ter­na­tional stand­ing. PASOK’s press of­fice called on Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras, who was vis­it­ing Bel­grade, to clar­ify his po­si­tion.

There was no of­fi­cial re­sponse from the prime min­is­ter’s of­fice but SYRIZA MP Dim­itris Vet­tas ex­pressed his op­po­si­tion to any dis­cus­sion about the pos­si­bil­ity of Greece leav­ing the euro. “A re­turn to a na­tional cur­rency would mean na­tional iso­la­tion,” he said. “Opin­ions about ref­er­en­dums, the drachma or any­thing else any­one wants to think of can­not be con­sid­ered tools that help the gov­ern­ment.”

SYRIZA MEP Ste­lios Kouloglou took a more equiv­o­cal stance, ar­gu­ing that Athens should have a plan ready for the pos­si­bil­ity of the eu­ro­zone break­ing up but that for Greece to be­gin this process would be “sui­ci­dal.”

Af­ter his orig­i­nal com­ments, Xy­dakis made two fur­ther state­ments at­tempt­ing to clar­ify his po­si­tion. He ad­mit­ted that the way he pre­sented the is­sue may have been un­for­tu­nate and that he has al­ways sup­ported Greece’s mem­ber­ship of the eu­ro­zone.

How­ever, the mat­ter is not likely to end there as New Democ­racy leader Kyr­i­akos Mit­so­takis plans to at­tack the gov­ern­ment in Par­lia­ment to­day over its de­lay in con­clud­ing the re­view, which has sparked fresh un­cer­tainty, in­clud­ing about Greece’s fu­ture in the eu­ro­zone.

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