For six months now, the Greek government has been waging a battle in
conditions of unprecedented economic suffocation to implement the
mandate you gave us on January 25, 2015.
The mandate we were negotiating with our partners was to end the
austerity and to allow prosperity and social justice to return to our
country. It was a mandate for a sustainable agreement that would
respects both democracy and common European rules and lead to the final
exit from the crisis.
Throughout this period of negotiations, we were asked to implement
the agreements concluded by the previous governments with the Memoranda,
although they were categorically condemned by the Greek people in the
recent elections. However, not for a moment did we think of
surrendering, that is to betray your trust.
After five months of hard bargaining, our partners, unfortunately,
issued at the Eurogroup the day before yesterday an ultimatum to Greek
democracy and to the Greek people. An ultimatum that is contrary to the
founding principles and values of Europe, the values of our common
Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras.
They asked the Greek government to accept a proposal that accumulates
a new unsustainable burden on the Greek people and undermines the
recovery of the Greek economy and society, a proposal that not only
perpetuates the state of uncertainty but accentuates even more the
social inequalities. The proposal of institutions includes: measures
leading to further deregulation of the labour market, pension cuts,
further reductions in public sector wages and an increase in VAT [an indirest tax, like the GST] on
food, dining and tourism, while eliminating tax breaks for the Greek
These proposals directly violate European social and fundamental
rights: they show that concerning work, equality and dignity, the aim of
some of the partners and institutions is not a viable and beneficial
agreement for all parties but the humiliation the entire Greek people.
These proposals mainly highlight the insistence of the International Monetary Fund in the
harsh and punitive austerity and make more timely than ever the need for
the leading European powers to seize the opportunity and take
initiatives which will finally bring to a definitive end the Greek
sovereign debt crisis, a crisis affecting other European countries and
threatening the very future of European integration.
Right now, weighs on our shoulders the historic responsibility
towards the struggles and sacrifices of the Greek people for the
consolidation of democracy and national sovereignty. Our responsibility
for the future of our country. And this responsibility requires us to
answer the ultimatum on the basis of the sovereign will of the Greek
A short while ago at the cabinet meeting, I suggested the
organisation of a referendum, so that the Greek people are able to
decide in a sovereign way. The suggestion was unanimously accepted.
Tomorrow, the House of Representatives will be urgently convened to
ratify the proposal of the cabinet for a referendum next Sunday, July
5, on the question of the acceptance or the rejection of the proposal
I have already informed about my decision the president of France and
the chancellor of Germany, the president of the European Central Bank, and tomorrow my
letter will formally ask the European Union leaders and institutions to extend for a
few days the current program in order for the Greek people to decide,
free from any pressure and blackmail, as required by the Constitution of
our country and the democratic tradition of Europe.
To the blackmailing of the ultimatum that asks us to accept a severe
and degrading austerity without end and without any prospect for a
social and economic recovery, I ask you to respond in a sovereign and
proud way, as the history of the Greek people commands.
To authoritarianism and harsh austerity, we will respond with
democracy, calmly and decisively. Greece, the birthplace of democracy
will send a resounding democratic response to Europe and the world.
I am personally committed to respect the outcome of your democratic
choice, whatever that is. And I’m absolutely confident that your choice
will honor the history of our country and send a message of dignity to
In these critical moments, we all have to remember that Europe is the
common home of peoples. That in Europe there are no owners and guests.
Greece is and will remain an integral part of Europe and Europe is an
integral part of Greece. But without democracy, Europe will be a Europe
without identity and without a compass.
I invite you all to display national unity and calm in order to take
the right decisions. For us, for future generations, for the history of
the Greeks. For the sovereignty and dignity of our people.
[Thanks to A Socialist in Canada.]