Saturday, February 7, 2015

Tsipras Lays Out Part of the Road Map for Greece

by Mohamed A. El-Erian


February 9, 2015

Alexis Tsipras didn't disappoint in his first parliamentary speech as prime minister of Greece yesterday. He mixed fiery rhetoric with defiance and emotional nationalistic language, reaffirming his government's rejection of the country's international bailout programs. His address shed light on a way forward for Greece, as well as the many obstacles to progress. He also took unnecessary risks. Specifically:

  1. Tsipras's carefully crafted speech contained a case-by-case examination of Greece’s domestic challenges while showing that these are inextricably connected to equally urgent collective European problems. Finding the right balance between the two will be critical to maintaining financial order in Greece, improving economic prospects and keeping the country within the euro zone.
  2. On the surface, Tsipras may appear to have outlined an unworkable attempt to combine two mutually exclusive issues. That's not necessarily so. Moreover, this dual focus is one that many regional and multilateral efforts continuously try to implement, with varying degrees of success.

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