New Greek Govt.: Debt Repayment Isn't Realistic

Syriza economics spokesman calls for negotiations
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 27, 2015 11:58 AM CST
New Greek Govt.: Debt Repayment Isn't Realistic
Greece's new Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras makes a secular oath to the Greek President Karolos Papoulias at the Presidential Palace in Athens, Monday, Jan. 26, 2015.   (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

As Greece's newly elected Syriza party takes office, its top economics spokesman is making the party's views on debt clear. It's "unrealistic" to think that Greece will be able to pay back the $270 billion bailout it received from the eurozone and other lenders, Euclid Tsakalotos tells the BBC. "I haven't met an economist in their heart of hearts that will tell you that Greece will pay back all of that debt. It can't be done," he says. "Nobody believes that the Greek debt is sustainable." But the EU says it does expect repayment: A reduction in debt "is not on the radar" of the EU commission, says its president, Jean-Claude Juncker.

Tsakalotos has said he's not looking for a showdown. "The new Greek government will be ready to cooperate and negotiate for the first time with our peers a just, mutually beneficial and viable solution," he noted. The EU should be prepared to talk, he says, noting that it will be "a very dangerous Europe with very strong centrifugal political forces if they signal that after a democratic vote they're not interested in talking to a new government." If Greece "falls," he says, the eurozone will "collapse," which would be "my worst nightmare." Meanwhile, new prime minister Alexis Tsipras has announced his new cabinet, which includes economics professor Yanis Varoufakis—whom an analyst has called "John Maynard Keynes with a hint of Karl Marx"—as finance minister, the Guardian reports. (More Greece stories.)

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