Thursday, April 30, 2015

A New Speech By Alexis Tsipras?

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.

Fellow Greeks:

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.

Thank you!


  1. Dear Klaus,
    I strongly have the impression that you were the one who drafted this speech for Mr. Tsipras. Unfortunately, after the experience of the last months, I think it is not likely that he will hold it, and if he did, that he would be trusted by the rest of Europe.

  2. Though I would like to believe as well that this could be Tsipras' speech: in the words however I hear another person talking, somebody with a complete other inbeing. Not even a changed Tsipras, neither a deeper part of Tsipras' personality.
    Maybe once he could say this: when he is dying and regretting all he did wrong in his life, because of a sudden insight, that came too late.

    To create such a psychological change in a person takes years, not a day or a week, though one can grow older for hundreds of years, in one second, when something deeply hurting or touching (physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually) opens the Inner Awareness. Awareness goes far beyond Earthly Intelligence where the university professors try to make a parade with, and what is blinding the people who cannot see through this mask of arrogance.

    This Greek government, all included, do not have the necessary Gnosis, Awareness.
    They are not capable, and taking all Greeks in their schizophrenic-political-abstract Zalongo dance into the deep down under, convincing the followers the deep down under Paradise is waiting, the New Greece.
    One can survive there by just eating words or each other and getting high of them.

    They want to be the heroes in their own drama movie, written, edited, directed and played all by themselves. Too many Greeks want to be in that movie, to be honored later as the brave, like Alex(ander)'s soldiers.
    Fighting the ghosts however: they are all suffering from paranoia. There is even one who is obviously suffering from dementia, I am sure.
    I wrote it in an earlier comment: Greece does not need money, it needs psychiatrists, psycho therapists, psychologists.

    Those Greeks who do NOT want to be in this (what will be proved to be) horror-science fiction-suspense (thriller) movie can ask for asylum in all EU countries, to find a way, together with EU, how to get back in Greece when all, who stayed, finally woke up from the dream.

  3. Dear Mr. Kastner,

    Thanks for sharing. It seems like a decisive move if it holds. And i hope your source is a correct source because i wouldn't want you to be apart of the sites and reporters that state source of soucre. (You know what I mean).

    I have learned to grow to trust you,your opinions and your guidance. I don't want that tarnished.

    If he makes such a speech it sounds like a secure decisive move aginst the creditors. Indeed it is well written and the most important is that, in it , it contains your proposal for refinancing. I can only hope this speech does come out committing all parties to form a unity.

    I am currently on my island right now after more than 8 months, there is alot of high tension in the social environement. It is quite expolsive and everybody is asking me whatis going to happen. Rights are furious lefts are furious and society is boiling. I simply tell them that we have all been hurt by this crisis and now is the time when we must be together and strong regardless of what our fate is. In smaller society's it is like a magnifying glass of what is going overall.

    I am curious to see how our counter parts will react. Do you think that this may have been prearranged? In any case this crisis needs to end and it needs to end now. The pressure on society has been too much and an end game needs to come now. Reforms and reworking of our total system in our time and no more red lines. Enoug is enough. The country needs to grow at its own pace and rate. Or bust and start over.

    Antoinette, i am sure Tsipras has speech writers. Everyone does but he is quite gifted in oritory speeches. And he is very lingiustic. I am quite sure he wrote and speech writers fine tuned it. You havenot been at his speechs nor have you met him, nor seen complete speeches nor interviews with live audiences. He speak truth and he is quite sincere person.

    BTW i met him once by accident. about 1 year ago on a business trip to Germany as he travels only economy class. I laughed when i saw him (maybe a nervous reaction because i considered his "word" as rhetotic) He saw me and came up to me and we talked for 20 minutes. He is very down to earth, sincere, knows whats going on on levels and spoke like a true leader. A profound moment inmy life meeting such modest leader.



  4. One minute before midnight Tsipras seems to have realized that he will not get a cent from Eurogroup unless he accepts their unpleasant conditions. The leftist part of Syriza would not cooperate with him if he crosses that famous red line and this route would very soon lead to default of the country.

    Now, he tries a different route: Suggest a different framework, where past debt is rescheduled and interest even lower than before, limited to 8% of tax revenue (which tax, direct and/or indirect?). In exchange he offers to abandon red lines: 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."

    This phrase is pretty sybilline and will not be accepted by the left wing of Syriza (nor by the Eurogroup). For this reason he intends to "form a new government with competent members from all parties so that we have national unity in the government". He hopes that part of current opposition could be included in the new government in order to get the necessary majority in parliament for laws clearly beyond the red line.

    This kind of "great coalition" is very difficult and Greece has no appropriate experience. I doubt that the Eurogroup will disburse any money on such shaky grounds.

    This text is either the original draft to be translated into Greek language, or it must be a very free translation from Greek to English, intended for the northern public. To publish it here must be an intended test balloon, and I must say that this could have been a solution two months ago.

    Today my 5 cents - free of charge and obligation: Too little and much too late.


  5. Dear A. Tsipras
    Thank you, but no thank you. You negotiated in the familiar Greek way, threats, threats and threats. You gambled for high stakes and lost. You would readily have cashed your winnings if you had won; now you want your gambling partners to pay your losses. As another contributor say "it is too little too late". I do not think you want to, or can, deliver; you will walk away from any agreed deal. You lost any credibility latest when fighting corruption and tax evasion became a bargaining chip for money support.
    Lennard, EU citizen.

  6. Dear All,

    Maybe in the end it is indeed a nice theater created from the start. European citizens are fed up with Greeks and vice versa. Unfortunately, neither side really knows what it at stake when troika makes requests nor do Greek leaders understand when they make threats. All this for the balanced economic balance sheet. ok so be it. If it blows up now later in 3 months or 1-2 years down the road ok. Most people are angry but do not care anymore.

    Today i went on an excursion and found 50 some odd English hikers walking through our village fields. it was truly a breathe of fresh air as i gave them fruits and water and they gave me support of English affection regardless of all this animosity towards us.


    1. @V: I think that the British, despite great cultural differences, have always respected and tried to understand the Greeks -- even when in disagreement. I cannot say the same for several other European nations, though.

    2. Hi Xenos,

      All eu people are good. I truly believe that even if we anger each other. And actually we do not anger each other it is the media which plays us all as pupppets. In my multiple experiences with all europeans do you know I seprate All uk people?. And is a true reason I believe why their imperialistic empire lasted to modern times.? The uk people are extremely well mannered. Men are gentlemen even when they hold a gun at the table. The women are all queens and princes.

      After the excursion i went to the island capital. I was so surprised to see many tourists so early in the season and mainly non greek. french, german, middle easterners and tons of brits. Andros is not a tourist dominated island due to the ship owners trying to keep the island quiet to themselves. It was really nice seeing so many smiling faces as our foreign tourists bring smiles to our face.

      Tonight i went out with some friends and had a lovely time and 10 or so our brit hikers were in our town out on the night. we grouped 5 tables together drank and had a merry time. Such nice people such nice laughs and the combination of dry brit humor and hot greek humor made the night unforgetable. Made all our concerns go away. At least till tomorrow. It was good day.

      Cheers Mate Goodnight,


    3. And below is the Greek version:πολιτικη/ένα-φανταστικό-διάγγελμα-τσίπρα

  7. "I think that the British, despite great cultural differences, have always respected and tried to understand the Greeks -- even when in disagreement. I cannot say the same for several other European nations, though."

    That's the typical UKIP-Farage b*****t

    1. No, it's written by someone frequently accused here of being on the left, who most certainly does not support Farage, and tends to read a lot of Greek and regional history. I am not speaking of governments, but of cultures, to be clear.

  8. If you don't like the game then don't flip coins with Greeks. If its heads you lose, if its tails they win.

  9. That's the speech many Greeks would like to hear. But it will never happen because the people currently in government are incapable of recognizing their mistakes. The future of Greece is bleak if Syriza is not overthrown as soon as possible.

  10. It is remarkable how wrong the Greek negotiators have been reading their counterparts. They have still not noticed that they have been on a Dutch auction since mid-February. After having tried to peddle their merchandise to USA, China, Russia, Italy, Spain etc. they have still not realized that the value is falling each day. Could it be that they are so enamored with talking that they have no time to listen? Soon the goods will have passed "best before" and "latest sale" dates. That however, does not prevent Greek top politicians from touring Europe in an attempt to flog a horse that is essentially dead.

  11. I had expected that under the assumption that this draft of a speech is not a joke, Tsipras would hold it on past Monday.

    Since this has not happened yet, I think that the author just made a bad joke - or does anybody still believe it could have a realistic connection to the PM?

    Anyhow, the gossip in press has now shown that for end of May Greece will not get any additional money from EU and I can not imagine that there will be enough cash to pay salaries plus debt amortizations.

    Greek press reported that an agreement was expected for the beginning of May, then end of May, now they said it will be in June. My full conviction: It will not be ready in June and Greece by that point in time will have defaulted.

    ND, although still a political minority, puts its finger into the wound, the left part of Syriza insists on the red lines and only unrealistic optimists believe in a solution without default.


    1. I had written that speech because, from Tsipras' appearances outside Greece, I thought there was a chance that he is a person capable of coming to senses. A Greek journalist picked it up and translated it into Greek for publication in the Athens Voice. I also sent it to 3 leftist media (Avgi, and Iskra) from whom I did not get any reaction. The reaction I got from elsewhere was that I simply didn't understand who Tsipras was/is. No chance in the world that Greece would ever get down on its knees before foreign creditors. No chance in the world that Tsipras will ever come to senses. I still keep thinking that even a leftist radical like Andreas Papandreou came to senses after he got elected.

    2. So other reader(s) of this blog had better intuition to foresee your bag of tricks ;)

      I tried to understand the greek comments you got on, but is lost with that language...

      Now my view of the Greek world is coherent again, and I am flattered to find that some important us publications finally came to the same conclusion that Grexit would help both parties.


      PS: You certainly remember how long Papandreou stayed in office after "he came to senses" with Eurogroup.

    3. I was referring to Andreas Papandreou back in 1980. The history book which I am currently reading describes his campaign in detail. By golly, that man sounded much more dangerous than Tsipras ever did! Until he assumed the responsibility of governing...

      Perhaps the explanation is that Tsipras still hasn't understood that campaign times are over and governing times are in. Perhaps he never will.

    4. You seem to forget that Andreas P was well-educated, experienced, he was a shrewd politician, albeit a maverick. He had studied abroad and thus had international experience too. He even wrote a book.

      His development from fiery marxist to realist politician actually reminds one of the political development of Joschka Fischer.

      Tsipras is and has nothing of that at all. He makes the appearance of a spiv, he talks bad Greek, and seems to be quite unsure, and often has no answers (like in the recent SKAI interview, when he was asked what he wanted to do against unemployment).

      He devoted his student years to activism and demonstrations. Can you imagine him writing a book? He is simply not able to think straight.

  12. A. Papandreou came to his senses when he saw that it would get him all the money he wanted. You could also say he only got dangerous when he came to his senses. Meanwhile the donors have become poorer (and wiser).