Tsipras seeks to re­verse slide

PM hopes re­gional con­fer­ences will put pos­i­tive spin on his gov­ern­ment

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Seek­ing to re­verse the gov­ern­ment’s steady slide in pop­u­lar­ity, Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras is em­bark­ing on a cam­paign to shift the fo­cus of the pub­lic de­bate to the econ­omy’s pos­i­tive prospects in light of last month’s Eurogroup deal.

To this end, he ar­rives in Kozani in north­ern Greece to­day to at­tend a two-day re­gional con­fer­ence – the first of 13 such events – which, he hopes, will sig­nal the be­gin­ning of the coun­try’s exit from the years­long fi­nan­cial cri­sis. And with Greece’s bailout pro­gram end­ing in Au­gust 2018, the gov­ern­ment is keen to build on these re­gional con­fer­ences to help kick­start the econ­omy and change the nar­ra­tive of gloom that has come to haunt the left-led coali­tion.

Tsipras can take heart from the fact that for the first time since 2014, the en­vi­ron­ment ap­pears more con­ducive to the coun­try’s re­turn to in­ter­na­tional bond mar­kets, while the eu­ro­zone re­ceived a strong boost with elec­tion of Em­manuel Macron in France. But Tsipras will have his work cut out for him to sway the pub­lic de­bate in its fa­vor given do­mes­tic events of the last four weeks, which in­cluded a garbage col­lec­tor strike, al­le­ga­tions link­ing the leader of the ju­nior coali­tion party Panos Kam­menos to a drug con­vict and rev­e­la­tions of a plan for a par­al­lel cur­rency that the gov­ern­ment and the fi­nance min­is­ter of the time, Ya­nis Varo­ufakis, were plan­ning in 2015.

More­over, Tsipras and his del­e­ga­tion will be met with lo­cal op­po­si­tion to plans for pri­va­tiz­ing Pub­lic Power Cor­po­ra­tion (PPC).

Trade union­ists and other lo­cal la­bor groups have al­ready lam­basted Tsipras for go­ing back on many of his pre-elec­tion pledges, re­mind­ing him that he had once de­scribed many of the mea­sures in­cluded in last month’s Eurogroup deal as “crimes.”

Lo­cal union­ists also claim that the com­mit­ments made by the gov­ern­ment in last month’s Eurogroup deal will not only fail to bring eco­nomic growth, but will pave the way for the re­gion’s fi­nan­cial degra­da­tion.

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