Europe: Tsipras condemns sanctions against Russia

The Russian president Vladimir Putin went to Greece for talks with Greek PM Alexis Tsipras. Speaking on press conference, Tsipras said sanctions imposed on Russia over its actions in Ukraine are not productive.

The rule of Russian sanctions are decided weeks a ahead.

Then,  Putin said there would be “no discussions” about Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula that was seized by Kremlin-backed forces in 2014, leading to sanctions from the EU and US.

Tsipras told reporters: “We have repeatedly said that the vicious circle of militarisation, of Cold War rhetoric and of sanctions is not productive. The solution is dialogue.”

Putin said: “As far as Crimea is concerned, we consider this question is closed forever. Russia will not conduct any discussions with anyone on this subject.”

He also said that Russia would be forced to respond to US moves in Europe, warning that Washington’s missile shield bases in Romania and Poland were a direct threat to his country’s security.

“If yesterday in those areas of Romania people simply did not know what it means to be in the cross-hairs, then today we will be forced to carry out certain measures to ensure our security.”



Europe: Turkey ‘won’t apologise’ for downing Russia jet and rebukes Tsipras’ tweets

The row among Turkey and Russia has another chapter today. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has said Turkey will not apologise for bringing down a Russian jet on the Syrian border.

Davutoglu said the incident was unfortunate but that Turkey had a right and duty to protect its airspace.

Also on Monday, a Russian military spokesman said Russia has armed its Su-34 fighter jets over Syria with air-to-air missiles for the first time.

While he did not mention which particular threat the missiles were meant to counter, it comes six days after the Russian plane was shot down by Turkey.

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, appearing with Mr Davutoglu in Brussels, said the alliance fully supported the right of member nation Turkey to defend its airspace.

He said there was concern about increased Russian presence in the region, but that the focus was on calming the situation.

Meanwhile, Greek Prime Minster Alexis Tsipras has criticised Davutoglu. He posted four tweets on Sunday addressed to Ahmet Davutoglu, complaining about Turkish violations of Greek airspace.

“Fortunately our pilots are not mercurial as yours against the Russians,” his first tweet read.

Davutoglu replied urging Mr Tsipras to “focus on our positive agenda”.

Conclusion: Davutoglu has many problems with Russians and Greeks too.


Greece: Tsipras hails ‘victory of the people’

After weeks of financial turmoil. Greece has re-elected Alexis Tsipras as Prime Minister. Syriza has won with 145 of 300 seats on parliament.

Tsipras has said his left-wing Syriza party has a “clear mandate” after winning a second general election in less than nine months.

But he said Greeks faced a difficult road and recovery from financial crisis would only come through hard work.

Meanwhile, he hails the victory.

“I feel vindicated because the Greek people have a clear mandate to carry on fighting inside and outside our country to uphold the pride of our people,” Mr Tsipras told supporters in Athens.

“In Europe today, Greece and the Greek people are synonymous with resistance and dignity.

The European Commission on Monday urged Syriza to press on with reforms.

“There is a lot of work ahead and no time to lose,” spokesman Margaritis Schinas told reporters.

Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who heads the Eurogroup meetings of eurozone finance ministers, said he was “ready to work closely” with the new Greek government.

European Council President Donald Tusk said in a letter to Mr Tsipras that many of the biggest challenges facing the EU were the same as those facing Greece “including the refugee crisis and the creation of sustainable growth and jobs”.

Conclusion: The Greek way to disturb Europe.

Greece: Tsipras threatens Syriza rebels with snap elections

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras give an interview to Sto Kokkino radio station. He threatens Syriza’s rebels when he suggests to call snap elections. Tsipras said he would be “forced” to go to the polls unless he has a majority in parliament. “I would be the last person to want elections, if I had the secured parliamentary majority to make it through to the end of the four-year term,” he said. Conclusion: Tsipras tackles the rebellion with his Greek stupidity.

Greece: Tsipras in intensive talks with creditors

The long night of talks in Brussels has begun. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has negotiated  with the European Commission, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to reach a deal over debt crisis. The Brussels talks “will go on during the night if necessary”, Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem said. Tsipras has criticised lenders for rejecting his latest reform proposals, which they say are not viable.

The new proposal includes:

  • New taxes on businesses and the wealthy
  • Selective increases in VAT
  • Savings in pensions linked to curbing early retirement and increasing pension contributions
  • No further reductions in pensions or public-sector wages – “red lines” for Greece’s Syriza government

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said a deal was not close.

“I get the impression that we haven’t come much further than we were on Monday,” he said.

“But we are just beginning, then we will see. In any case, the preparations that were made do not make one optimistic that we will find a solution today. ”

However, IMF director Christine Lagarde said that the Greek government’s tax plans were not viable.

“You can’t build a programme just on the promise of improved tax collection, as we have heard for the past five years with very little result,” she said in an interview for the French magazine Challenges (in French).

“Creditors are expecting credible, tangible measures which will allow the budgetary situation to be redressed.”

The plan should be approved on the weekend by Eurozone countries.

Conclusion: Greeks has a long night ahead.

Europe: Tsipras tells lenders not to humiliate Greece over debt

The talks still continues in Brussels. But Greece remains on its undecision yet. Greek PM Alexis Tsipras has warned international creditors not to impose humiliating terms on his country as it seeks urgently needed bailout funds. He said negotiations were at a “critical” stage, but that the lenders’ proposals were “not realistic”. He was briefing parliament amid growing opposition in his leftist Syriza party to the creditors’ proposals.

Tsipras described the EU-IMF lenders’ plan as a “bad moment for Europe” and a “bad negotiating trick”.

He accused Greece’s lenders of massively backtracking on measures agreed in recent months, and of failing to take into account the need for an end to austerity in their latest offer.

Tsipras denouncing it. He said: “The strangulation of a country is a matter of moral order which conflicts with the founding principles of Europe.”

He said the aim of any deal should be “for a solution and not to… humiliate a whole people”.

He said his own proposals were the only “realistic” option.

Tsipras said on Thursday that an agreement with Greece’s international creditors was “in sight”, particularly on the key sticking point of primary surpluses – the amount by which tax revenues exceed public spending.

But he said there were “points that no-one would consider as a base for discussion” – citing cuts to pensions and higher sales tax for electricity.

Underlining a deep sense of anger among Syriza members, Deputy Social Security Minister Dimitris Stratoulis, who is close to the far-left faction of the ruling Syriza party, denounced the measures.

“If [the creditors] do not back down from this package of blackmail, the government …will have to seek alternative solutions, elections,” he told Antenna TV.

However, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said on Thursday he saw “no reason whatsoever” for Greece to go to snap elections, according to Reuters.

The main points of the deal include:

  • International creditors want pension cuts, slimmer civil service, VAT reform, fewer tax rebates and more private sector investment, reports say
  • Mr Tsipras rules out increased VAT on energy and reduced supplementary payments for poorer pensioners
  • Athens wants lower primary budget surplus targets, but both sides appear close to agreement. According to reports, creditors want a budget surplus of 1% of GDP this year and 2% next year, while Greece has proposed 0.8% for 2015 and 1.5% for 2016

Conclusion: Greeks loses their patience with Tsipras and his cabinet.

Greece: Tsipras has ‘realistic’ debt deal proposal despite European concerns

After a long night meeting among heads of European Central Bank (ECB) Mario Draghi and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande to discuss the Greek crisis in Berlin. Greece’ PM Alexis Tsipras vows a realitisc debt deal proposal.

He says he has issued a “a realistic proposal” to its international creditors in an attempt to secure a deal over its debts.

“We have submitted a realistic plan for Greece to exit the crisis,” he said.

Tspiras said the plan included “concessions that will be difficult”.

Conclusion: Will Tsipras save Greece from this?