ATHENS | If negotiations with Greece’s lenders reach a deadlock the government will hold a referendum, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said during an interview at TV news program ‘Ston Eniko’ on Star channel. He stressed that the Greek government is at a difficult point of the negotiations with its lenders but it has nothing to hide and it’s not bluffing.
Asked if he intends to cause a rift with the country’s lenders or to compromise if he’s faced with the choice, he said: “If I find myself in a difficult position, with a deal which pushes me outside the boundaries [the government has set], the people will decide; obviously not through elections.”
But he noted that this is a highly hypothetical scenario, because he believes an agreement will be reached.
He also said the country’s creditors continue to request the return of ‘troika’ officials.
“We’ll tell the truth here. They are still demanding the return of the troika,” he said, adding that the government managed to stop the “humiliating” visits of troika officials to ministries.
“We no longer have this pillage and interrogation of ministers by the troika,” he noted.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras criticised the European Central Bank’s decision to lower the funding available to Greek banks on February 18 was “politically unorthodox”.
“On February 18, the ECB took a decision which was politically and ethically unorthodox,” he said.
Tsipras also said the government was “blackmailed” through economic asphyxiation.
During his interview, he heralded changes in the social security system, saying that the government will have to tackle the issue, “with or without the troika”.