An anonymous source sent me what allegedly is a draft of a speech which PM Tsipras is about to give on national TV. See below.
I am speaking to you not as the head of my party nor as the head of government. I am simply speaking to you as a Greek who happens to be in a position where he can influence the future of our country. This is my own speech. I have not discussed it with the leadership of my party or with anyone else.
I have often been described as a radical. Some have even called me the most dangerous man in Europe. Yes, I am a radical. I will always be on the side of those who contribute to society instead of those who exploit it. Being a radical, it is only natural that I can also make a radical change and today I will present to you the radical change which I am about to make.
During my campaigns during the last years and, particularly, since my appointment as Prime Minister, my actions were shaped by mistrust. Mistrust in our creditors and other foreign powers. I neglected the fact that mistrust breeds mistrust on the other side.
I began on the premise that Greece faces a solid bloc of implacable creditors who would rather see us default and exit from the Eurozone than let a leftist government succeed; that there is no good will on the other side of the table. I am not a dreamer. Of course our creditors pursue their own interests. After all, they have a lot of money at stake. We would behave the same way if we were in their shoes. But I think it was wrong to assume that they mean us ill. It was wrong to assume that all Berlin, Brussels, and the IMF want from our country is “earth and water.” That they are asking for subordination and surrender. It was wrong to assume that all those creditors want is to turn Greece into a debt colony.
I think one of the most important things in life, more important than being right, is to recognize when one has made mistakes and learn from them. If I have made a mistake by starting on the premise of mistrust, I will now radically change and work on the premise of trust. This in the hope that trust will breed trust.
I state unequivocally: Greece will remain a member of the Eurozone and of the EU, whatever it takes. There will no longer be red lines and there will no longer be ill chemistry between our negotiators and those of our creditors. Instead, I sincerely reach out my hand for a new form of partnership.
This will relieve us from the pressure to perform. We no longer need to be pressured; we reach out our hand. The pressure is now on our partners to show that they are prepared to take our hand and to shake it. We can no longer disappoint Europe but Europe now has to prove that it will not disappoint us.
I will not request much of our partners. In fact, I will request only two things: that they lower the interest rates on our debt and extend the maturities.
I commit that we will allocate 8% of our tax revenue to interest. This is far less than we have paid in memory. Even last year, when much of our debt carried very low interest rates and some of it none, we had to allocate 12% of our tax revenue to interest. Let me give you a simple example so that all of you understand: in the year 2000 when our debt was far less than half of what it is today, we paid interest of over 10 billion Euros. If our partners accept what we propose, we will, beginning this year, pay less than half of that amount in interest on debt which is far more than twice as high. Let me assure you that we can consider this as a very substantial concession on the part of our partners.
I, therefore, commit to our partners: beginning this year, the Greek state will allocate 8% of tax revenue to interest. That will be sufficient to pay interest to all our private creditors and still some interest to our partners. If this requires more austerity measures (which I doubt), we will implement them.
Regarding the maturities of our debt, we cannot go on having crises every time when a loan to official creditors needs to be refinanced. Thus, we request a rescheduling of official sector debt maturities to 25-50 years. How this can be accomplished shall be the decision of our partners.
What do I offer our partners in exchange? I commit to our partners that we will cooperate with them unequivocally to do everything to build a modern and prosperous Greece: a Greece characterized by economic opportunity and social equity, and served by an efficient administration with a strong public service ethos. There will be no red lines on our part. We trust that there will not be red lines on the part of our partners, either. We all know some of the critical points of conflict at this time, for example: pension reforms, labor market reforms, etc. We know that these reforms must be made and we are willing to commit to them by law today. What we need to negotiate is their implementation. Greek society has suffered too much in recent years to digest further austerity shocks at this time. The crucial element in the implementation of such reforms will be adequate transition times.
Now some of our partners may say: How can we trust you? My response to them is: Have you not recognized how much trust I have already extended to you? Don’t you think that justifies trust on your side? I cannot force our partners to trust me. I can only invite them to trust me and to take me by my word.
In 3 days from now, I will request in Parliament a confidence vote on what I have outlined above. I will expect all Parliamentarians to vote on the basis of their conscience independent of their party affiliation. If I am given a clear vote of confidence, I will form a new government with competent members from all parties so that we have national unity in the government.
Please bear the following in mind: Greece has now muddled through for exactly 5 years. Greeks have accepted much suffering for the prize of remaining a member of the Eurozone and the EU. We have now reached a decision point. It is now either/or. We will either take a step in the direction of a positive future or we will decide that the future will get worse than the last 5 years have been. At least in the foreseeable future.