WSJ: Tsipras promises to pass Prespa Agreement; avoid next round of pension cuts

28 September 2018
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Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras promised to ratify the “Prespes Agreement” in order to finally resolve the fYRoM “name issue”, regardless of the political fallout to his shaky coalition government, he said in an interview posted on Thursday by the WSJ.

The erstwhile firebrand leftist leader spoke to the US newspaper while on a trip to New York City for an annual UN General Assembly, using the occasion to also meet investment bank representatives and would-be investors.

“I will not play games; the agreement will be ratified by the Greek parliament just after the end of the procedure,” he said, alluding a closely watched referendum in the neighboring former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM) on Sunday. Constitutional revision will then follow if the referendum is successful in fYRoM.

Asked when the agreement would come before Greek Parliament for ratification, he said “approximately in March.”

Tsipras’ “strange bedfellows” coalition is propped up by the small right-wing and populist Independent Greeks (AN.EL) party, led by the current defense minister, Panos Kammenos. The latter is on record as saying he and his remaining AN.EL deputies in Parliament will vote against the agreement.

“I think my government will survive, but I don’t know if my coalition will survive, but this is something my coalition partner will decide,” WSJ quoted the previously anti-austerity and anti-bailout Tsipras as saying.

Asked about another political “hot potato” on his poll-trailing government’s “lap”, namely, a social security spending reduction in January 2019, he vowed to avoid the already legislated austerity measure, but with creditors’ acquiescence: “It (suspension decision) will not be unilateral, it will be logical.”

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