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Syriza has done another big U-turn on its election promises

The new Greek government is pushing ahead with privatising ports and airports.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras
Image: AP Photo/Panayiotis Tzamaros

GREECE’S NEW LEFT-WING government has done an about-face on promises to ditch privatisation plans for valuable state infrastructure the previous administration put in place.

The anti-austerity Syriza government will now push ahead with a scheduled sale of the country’s largest port, Pireaus, after previously vowing to unpick the process.

The cash-strapped country, which has already received a €240 billion EU-IMF bailout, has been under intense pressure from its lenders to go ahead with selling off state assets.

Greek Deputy Prime Minister Gabriel Sakellaridis yesterday said the issue of privatisation was part of the “package” of measures the government was negotiating with the EU and IMF to unlock another €7.2 billion in much-need bailout funds.

He admitted that in the case of Piraeus there had been a “concession” from the new Greek government, which came to power in late January.

Greece Financial Crisis Workers protest the Piraeus sale in early 2014 Source: AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis

It followed the sale of a €40 million gambling license late last month, the first privatisation since the election.

Water, power off the table

Meanwhile, Greek Economy Minister George Stathakis said the government would push ahead with efforts to privatise the country’s largest ports and airports.

We’re trying to revise some elements of these privatizations in order to improve them and I think we’ll get a sensible agreement for both,” he said, according to Bloomberg.

However Stathakis added Greece wouldn’t sell other state assets the previous administration had agreed to offload including water, electricity and postal services.

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Meanwhile, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis told an Athens conference he wouldn’t sign any deals unless they helped the country emerge from its economic crisis.

Belgium Europe Greece Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis Source: AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert

But he added an exit from the euro and return to the old national currency would be akin to returning “to the Neolithic Age”.

I wish that we had the drachma, make no mistake … I wish we had not entered this monetary union,” he said. “But once you’re in you don’t get out, without catastrophe.”

- With AFP and AP

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About the author:

Peter Bodkin  / Editor, Fora

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