Concluding the customary three days of debate, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and main opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis will cross swords tonight on the full gamut of government policy, before parliament passes the 2018 state budget at midnight.
Mitsotakis is expected to attack the government on its policies of over-taxation and of distributing stipends to unemployed youths.
All opposition parties are expected to challenge Tsipras’ narrative that Greece will make a clean exit from bailout memorandum supervision when the current, third programme expires in August, 2018.
Tsipras is expected to declare that the budget being debated is the last bailout-era budget.
Venizelos, Tsakalotos clash
The highlight of yesterday’s budget debate in parliament was the battle royal between Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos and his predecessor in the same post, former Pasok leader and now MP Evangelos Venizelos, who also served as vice-president of conservative ND leader Antonis Samaras’ government.
Venizelos argued that the crucial issue in discussing the government’s budget is whether it allows a clean exit from bailout memorandums or whether it signals the start of a fourth memorandum that has already been decided and passed by parliament and runs through 2060, when the debt is paid off.
“Not only do we not have a clear exit, but we are fooling ourselves when we discuss whether there will be a new memorandum, because it exists and has already been decided and passed by parliament,” Venizelos said.
Tsakalotos immediately lashed out at Venizelos with a vengeance. “If you did everything so well and we [Syriza] are so horrible, why are you a failed politician?” he asked.
“I am glad that you are a successful politician, arrogant and lacking in cognizance. You will receive your answer from the Greek people. Get off your high horse!” Venizelos snapped back.