On Berlin trip, Greek leftist slams 'inhuman' austerity

15th January 2013, Comments 0 comments

Greek leftist opposition leader Alexis Tsipras said Tuesday during a visit to Germany that the austerity drive imposed on his country was "inhuman" and warned Greece was a "bottomless pit" for taxpayers.

Speaking to reporters on the last of a four-day tour that included a meeting with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, Tsipras said the reforms demanded of Greece in return for international aid "had failed."

"Not only is it an inhuman programme, an inefficient programme, but it has also led to a cul-de-sac," he said, speaking through an interpreter.

"This programme has been revised twice and failed twice and you can be sure that it will be revised a third time and that it will fail again," added Tsipras, head of the radical leftist Syriza party in Greece.

He warned German taxpayers they were pouring money into a "bottomless pit" by propping up Greece, saying: "I really want the German people to know that the Greek debts are not sustainable."

He said he had explained to Schaeuble the consequences of the austerity drive in Greece, that it had created a "monster" of high unemployment, poverty and social unrest.

Following Tsipras's meeting with Schaeuble, neither side made official statements, but government sources in Berlin said the German urged the Greek opposition leader to get behind the reform path taking place in Greece.

"Greece can only remain in the euro if the adjustment programme is successfully implemented. All participants must bear their common responsibility," Schaeuble told Tspiras, according to this source.

But Tsipras rejected the idea that Greece could be forced out of the euro, calling for a "final end" to this debate.

"This debate just creates instability, and instability is not good for an economic upturn and an economic upturn is what we need, not only for Greece but also for Europe," he said.

© 2013 AFP

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