Tsipras charges Pasok-New Democracy ‘omerta’ [29/1/2013]
Alexis Tsipras (L) travelled to the European Parliament last week in a bid to demonstrate his pro-European credentials, meeting Main opposition Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras has launched a frontal attack on the government over the concealment of a list of Greek depositors in Swiss banks, even as he continues his campaign to inform European leaders on the need for the EU to abandon the troika’s austerity plan and present a comprehensive strategy for the debt crisis in the European south. Syriza is training its ire on Pasok leader Evangelos Venizelos, whom Tsipras accused of keeping “omerta” - the Mafia code of silence - in failing to utilise the list to prosecute potential tax evasion. “Venizelos did everything he could to conceal the list. He had hidden it at his home,” Nikos Pappas, the director of Tsipras’ office, told the Athens News. “He may have done it to control businessmen and journalists, and to blackmail or to help, as he saw fit.” Tsipras himself lashed out at Venizelos during a parliamentary debate on October 4. “Which businessmen of those who told their employees not to vote Syriza because the business would close are on the list?” he asked, suggesting possible blackmail. The affair comes at the worst possible time for the government, right before the vote on a massive austerity package, because it has reinforced the impression that middle- and low-income citizens are paying the piper, while the rich evade taxes with the collusion of the political establishment. “When you leave untouched and unaudited people with very large deposits abroad, you cannot slash the income of the lower classes. The very people who consent to a coverup of Swiss depositors seek to abolish the bonuses of OGA farmers’ pensions [among the lowest],” Pappas said. Syriza also blames former finance minister Yiorgos Papakonstantinou, charging that he did not utilise the list to audit potential tax dodgers, which was the reason he had requested it from then French finance minister Christine Lagarde. “Then SDOE [Financial and Economics Crime Unit] chief Yiannis Kapeleris told parliament that he was given only 10 names. What can I conclude? Why was Papakonstantinou holding on to it?” Pappas said. At the same time, Tsipras has also accused ruling New Democracy of its own type of code of silence, because it has not yet allowed debate of Syriza’s proposal for a parliamentary probe of how Greece was led into the EU-IMF bailout mechanism. Syriza warned parliamentary speaker Evangelos Meimarakis on October 4 that it would table a no-confidence vote against him if he does not schedule that debate. Tsipras appears satisfied with the results of his recent meeting with European Parliament President Martin Schultz, the first top EU official to receive the main opposition leader. Tsipras’ steadfast message to Greece’s European partners is that the troika’s programme for Greece will not work and that a comprehensive solution for the debt crisis in the south must be formulated urgently. He told Schultz that a programme of targeted public investments is needed to jumpstart the economy and that the EU must contribute. At speech to a Berlin conference entitled “Could Euro(pe) survive without Greece?”, Tsipras argued that the memorandum must be replaced with a plan for a productive reconstruction of the country. “Austerity did not fail because it was not implemented. It failed precisely because austerity was enforced,” he said, enumerating cuts in wages, pensions and social welfare benefits, and projecting that GDP will have shrunk by 25 percent in 2014. Link:[http://www.athensnews.gr/issue/13514/58544]No data
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