The Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras stated that he is “not an all-weather Prime Minister” in the Monday evening interview he gave to ERT when asked what he would do if the people vote ‘yes’ on Sunday’s referendum, hinting that the would resign.
When asked to comment on the IMF loan payment that is due on the 30th of June, Mr. Tsipras responded “let them give us a deal in the evening so that we may pay it”. Mr. Tsipras did not deny that the creditors made a proposal with a 13% VAT rate for hotels, but argued that the Greek people will be called to decide based on the essence of the matter and not the details.
During the interview the PM denied surprising Greece’s partners with the decision for a referendum. During his meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Francois Hollande in Brussels he complained that the proposal submitted to Greek authorities was not a sustainable solution and when he asked why they insisted upon such measures, they responded “it is not us, it is the institutions”. PM Tsipras told them that he would inform them after a government meeting.
The aim of the referendum, claimed Mr. Tsipras, is to continue the negotiations, adding that the bigger the rejection of the creditor proposal on Sunday, the stronger a bargaining position the Greek government will have. He estimated that the creditors do not want Greece to leave the euro, as the cost from a Greek default would be immense. He argued that “the plans is not to kick Greece out of the euro, but to end the hope that there can be a different policy”.
“In these five months we did everything that was possible” he explained and noted that “on the last day in Brussels I came to realization that the goal of the other side was not to bridge the differences, but to adopt their opinions. Every time we adopt something, they took it even further. We did everything we could for a fair solution”.
The Greek government is working hard to restore liquidity and to prevent any shortages of essential goods. The Greek people have gone through worse times, he noted and that the difficulties experienced at present were temporary. He slammed the ECB for cutting off liquidity to Greek banks, which in turn forced the introduction of capital controls and stressed that “other interventions” may occur by Sunday.
The Prime Minister commented that the banks would reopen for business as soon as the European Central Bank restores liquidity. He also disputed rumors that he has lost trust in Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, noting that if that were the case Mr. Varoufakis would have been replaced.