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MEPs round on Tspiras

brussels bureau

MEPs round on Tspiras


MEPs rounded on Greek prime minister Alexis Tspiras on Wednesday, urging him to more transparent about the reforms he wants to put in place to keep his country inside the eurozone.

Former Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt, who now leads the Liberal group in the European Parliament, told Tspiras that he has to deliver wide-ranging proposals if he wants to stay inside the single currency.

“I am angry because you are talking about reforms, but we never see concrete proposals of reforms…let’s propose to end of privileges in your country, the privileges of the shipowners, the privilege of the military, the privilege of the orthodox Church in your country.”

The MEP asked the Greek premier if he wanted to be remembered as “as an electoral accident who made his people poorer in his country? Or do you want to be remembered, Mr Tsipras, as a real revolutionary reformer?”

Verhofstadt had urged Tspiras to address the chamber in Strasbourg, France, after he initially refused to appear.

Manfred Weber, a centre-right lawmaker from Angela Merkel’s CDU party, said that Tspiras was wrong to say that a debt cut will only hurt bankers.

“It will hit nurses in Slovakia and public officials in Finland,” he said.

Nigel Farage, the UKIP leader, told Tspiras that only a return to the drachma and devaluation would get Greece out of its current recessionary spiral.

“They will give you no more, these people. They can’t afford to. If they give you more, they will have to give other eurozone members more,” said Mr Farage.

“Your moment has come and, frankly, if you’ve got the courage, you should lead the Greek people out of the eurozone with your head held high.”

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