Greek Syriza Party Makes Progress Challenging Austerity Policies in Four-Month Eurozone Bailout Extension

Posted Feb. 25, 2015

MP3 Interview with Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, conducted by Scott Harris


The Greek government, led by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of the Syriza (Coalition of the Radical Left)'s Party, faced its most difficult test this week since its victory in national elections on Jan. 25. Having won office by pledging to renegotiate the harsh austerity measures imposed by Eurozone officials, Syriza entered recent talks with its credibility at stake.

The agreement reached on Feb. 24 to extend the nearly $300 billion Greek bailout by four months, fell short of Syriza’s campaign promise to reverse austerity, scrap the bailout and end cooperation with the so-called "troika" made up of the European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Instead, Athens assured its creditors that the new government’s plan to alleviate the humanitarian crisis caused by austerity measures since 2010, would not derail its budget. The deal must still be ratified by some EU member parliaments.

Among the reforms proposed by Greece are a government crackdown on tax evasion by the rich and corruption, providing housing guarantees and free medical care for the uninsured and unemployed, introducing collective bargaining with public employees, reviewing scheduled privatizations of publicly-owned enterprises and reducing the number of government ministries from 16 to 10. Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, who discusses the significance of the Greek-EU bailout negotiations and the impact the results could have on movements resisting austerity policies across Europe.

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