Below is an English-language summary of the transcript of the meeting held on 15/05/2012 between the President of the Republic, Karolos Papoulias, and the leaders of Nea Demokratia (Antonis Samaras), SYRIZA (Alexis Tsipras), PASOK (Evangelos Venizelos), Independent Greeks (Panos Kammenos) and Democratic Left (Fotis Kouvelis) in a last-ditch attempt to form a coalition government after the failure of consultations held on 13/05/2012 and 14/05/2012. The leader of the Communist Party (Aleka Papariga) declined to attend, while the leader of neo-nazi Golden Dawn (Nikolaos Michaloliakos) was not invited.
The original transcript of the meeting as published by the presidency can be found here.
President Papoulias opened the meeting by stating that it would be the last attempt to form a government, barring which the country would go for new elections.
Samaras repeated that he was hoping a government could be formed due to the dangers posed by political instability to the country’s dire economic situation and asked if the proposal submitted by Kammenos to the president, according to which Independent Greeks would agree to participate in a coalition on grounds of national security, stil stood.
Tsipras repeated his party’s position that the popular vote not only rejected but delegitimized the bailout policies, and that SYRIZA cannot participate in a government coalition with Nea Demokratia and PASOK, not only because of SYRIZA pre-electoral commitment not to but also because Samaras and Venizelos have not withdrawn their written pledge to the EU/ECB/IMF to pursue the implementation of the austerity programme even if elections are held. He added that with the MPs of Democratic Left, Nea Demokratia and PASOK could easily form a government (total 168 MPs) which would seek to amend the memorandum, while SYRIZA’s position is that amendments are not sufficient. He stated again that, should such a government be formed, SYRIZA would play its role as the Official Opposition.He concluded by saying tha the fear-mongering about the state of the economy must stop, because it is causing even more damage to the economy: “It’s unacceptable that Mrs Merkel and Mr Jucker go around publicly saying empty words about the exit of Greece from the eurozone and that some here reproduce these empty words continuously and irresponsibly.”
Venizelos stated that PASOK’s position is to do everything it can to contribute to finding a solution, despite being much weakened by the hammering it took in the elections, because “we consider that the Greek people, even though they didn’t express themselves clearly and didn’t offer an immediate solution with their vote, stated clearly however that they want stability, that the do not want new elections, that they want Greece to remain in the eurozone, that they want better living conditions and that they want positive growth rates as soon as possible.”
He then said that Tsipras’s statement shows two major contradictions and one dangerous misunderstanding:
- First contradiction: Tsipras blames PASOK and Nea Demokratia for enforcing the memorandum policies which he claims were delegitimized by the election results, yet demands that PASOK and Nea Demokratia form a government while SYRIZA remains in the opposition and Democratic Left, which also campaigned on an anti-bailout platform, should join forces with PASOK and Nea Demokratia.
- Second contradiction: Tsipras says his party rejects the memorandum outright, while his recent public statements revolve around reexamining the overall European policy framework and expressed clearly that he would not proceed with any unilateral moves with regards to the bailout agreements.
- Misunderstanding: Tsipras says that some are fear-mongering, without specifying who they are, and he misunderstands the true meaning of what is being said at the European level about the possibility of a Greek exit. Furthermore, Tsipras seems to ignore the impact of this on the real economy.
- Immediate declaration of Greece’s Exclusive Economic Zone,
- Immediate audit and nationalization of the Central Bank of Greece,
- Establishment of a debt audit committee with a view to write off the odious debt,
- Denouncing both bailout agreements,
- Repelling article 86 of the constitution, which grants immunity to ministers,
- Making all information relevant to public affairs public, including secret agreements [at this point, there is some bickering with Venizelos regarding the total amount of the debt],
- Claiming back war reparations and loan repayments from World War II.
- SYRIZA could form a coalition with Democratic Left, with support from PASOK and a vote of tolerance from Nea Demokratia, or
- A ecumenical government supported by all pro-European parties, in which the participation of SYRIZA would be essential to secure maximum support in parliament and in society.
- The EEZ has already been declared but bilateral agreements with neighbouring countries are necessary to establish its boundaries,
- Discussions to nationalize the Central Bank of Greece are under way,
- An audit of the state’s financeswould be simple, since there effectively are only 2 loans: €70Bn of bonds held by private bondholders after the PSI operation and €150Bn from institutional partners, with €90Bn still to come.
- Article 86 of the Constitution does not need to be repelled because cases of corruption are not covered by ministers’ immunity under the statute of limitations.
- Three are no secret deals to be investigated.
- The previous government already tried to obtain war reparations.