Athens, 29 June 2015
Dear Comrades and friends,
As you know, following the historic victory of SYRIZA in our national elections on January 25 of this year, a government of social salvation was formed in Greece, headed by our Party President, now Prime Minister Mr Alexis Tsipras.
The new government’s clear mandate from the Greek people was to end the policies of extreme austerity, to relieve the socially weaker strata and to resolve the intolerable public debt crisis through negotiations, thereby creating the conditions for economic recovery and growth.
Negotiations have been going on since February between the new government and our EU partners, together with the other institutions involved in the Greek program. From the beginning, the government’s position has been that the Greek people’s mandate should be respected and that Greece should be treated as an equal partner in the EU and the Eurozone.
The negotiations went through many stages. In the meantime, the Greek Government took the first steps toward implementing its program. The first bill tabled and passed by the new Parliament, aimed to help the government deal with the country’s humanitarian crisis.
At the same time, the government did not neglect its task of moving in the direction of a multi-dimensional actively pro-peace foreign policy, seeking to upgrade Greece’s international position and role, to the benefit of the Greek people and our country’s national issues.
Obviously, democracy and the sovereignty of the people in our country are not negotiable; we also believe that this is not in any way incompatible with our membership in the EU and the Eurozone; on the contrary, it serves the European Idea in the most authentic way.
Last week, negotiations reached their most critical point. On Monday, 22 June, during the informal Eurozone Summit meeting, a well-documented Greek proposal was submitted for agreement by the institutions (European Commission, European Central Bank, IMF). It was described by top EU officials as a “good basis” for completing the negotiations. Despite this, the IMF then submitted new and unacceptable conditions, primarily in the fields of labour rights and pensions, for an agreement with Greece. The difficulties it raised made it necessary for the Prime Minister himself to travel to Brussels to take part in talks with the institutions and in the regular June EU Summit.
Unfortunately, the Prime Minister and our negotiating team were confronted with proposals from the institutions that in fact constituted an ultimatum. It is characteristic that the President of the European Council, Mr Donald Tusk, Prime Minister of Poland, addressed Mr Tsipras with the phrase “Game over”.
This development caused the Prime Minister, upon his return to Athens, to suggest to the Council of Ministers that a referendum be held so that the people could decide whether or not to accept the institutions’ proposal. His suggestion was adopted by Parliament. On June 26, the Greek Parliament voted in favour of the referendum (178 votes for and 120 against), which was set for Sunday 5 July.
Within the next few days, the task of the government and the parties that support it will be to campaign for a “NO” vote in the Referendum.
In the belief that international solidarity played an important part in SYRIZA’S election victory in January, and has also been manifested in various ways in the past five months, we appeal to you to continue and step up your solidarity with the Greek people and our Government.
The battle we are fighting in Greece is also a battle for Europe and its future. A battle for social justice and international cooperation on an equal basis.
Coordinator of SYRIZA’s Department of International Relations and Peace Issues