ATHENS: Radical leftist Alexis Tsipras said Sunday that international creditors had committed a “crime” against southern Europe and should pay reparations for hardships endured under austerity regimes.
Tsipras, whose Syriza party leads in opinion polls over the ruling conservative New Democracy party, told the weekly Real News that the creditors had “knowingly led (Greece) to the greatest humanitarian disaster” through faulty fiscal calculations.
“We find ourselves before a new generation of reparations,” said Tsipras, 39, who is among candidates to become the next president of the European Commission.
“A Syriza government will not let this crime against the country and the European south stand,” he said in the interview.
Greece’s multi-billion-euro EU-IMF bailout in 2010 saved the country from bankruptcy, but the austerity measures dictated by the creditors plunged the country into a deep recession.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras faces risky local elections in May in which Tsipras’s Syriza is poised to score major gains.
The prime minister has ruled out the holding of early general elections before his term expires in 2016, but it looks likely that early ballots will be required next year to enable parliament to elect a new president.
Tsipras said his first act if elected prime minister would be to “abolish” the bailout agreement.
The firebrand leftist leader has repeatedly called for an international conference to cancel the debt of the recession-hit countries of southern Europe.
His point of reference is the 1953 London conference at which 22 countries including Greece wrote off a large part of Germany’s debt after World War II to allow its economy to recover.