Tsipras: ‘I hope we won’t face the Donald Trump experience’

Alexis Tsipras [European Parliament]

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras warned of the risk of Donald Trump becoming the next US President. EURACTIV Greece reports.

Speaking at the Alliance Against Austerity for Democracy in Europe conference on Saturday (19 March) in Athens, the Greek premier expressed concerns about international politics in light of the economic and refugee crises.

“Extreme poverty and social inequality establish the hegemony of fear and hatred ideology across the world,” Tsipras said.

“Tell me who of you would believe a few months ago that in the US today, the front-runner on behalf of the Republicans for the nomination of the candidate President would be Mr. Trump?” the leftist leader asked.

“And of course what this nomination marks, the ideas it represents, the appeal it reaches, and the threat to become even President – I hope we will not face this evil.”

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According to Tsipras, the rise of the extreme right is caused by the “ultimate surrender” of governance to financial markets, and the hegemony of neoliberal approaches to the economy.

“It is a historical duty of the European progressive forces to struggle for the recovery of the ideological hegemony of the left,” he argued.

First “coward” step

Referring to the recent refugee deal agreed on by EU leaders, he underlined that Europe was on a knife-edge, facing a triple crisis of economy, refugees and security, which is gradually being transformed into an “existential crisis”.

Tsipras stressed that the handling of the crisis by neoliberal forces “confirms our fears for the future of Europe”.

Tsipras emphasised, however, the significance of the refugee agreement first of all for the refugees themselves, but also for countries such as Greece and Italy, which will be transformed into “warehouses of souls”.

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He added that Europe should change, as it “cannot have open borders to austerity [and] closed ones to persecuted people”.

Enhanced suppression in Turkey

Speaking at the same conference, Gabriele Zimmer, the German head of the leftist GUE/NGL group in the European Parliament, called the refugee agreement “illegal and inhuman”, saying it is not an option, “not even temporarily.”

The Die Linke MEP said that the deal would push Turkey deeper into an authoritarian regime and would legitimise the suppression of the freedom of press and the opposition.

“With this agreement, the Turkish government will decide upon the right of Kurds to reach the European Union, and I think this is a disaster.”

According to Zimmer, the German government estimates that 3.6 million refugees will arrive in Germany by 2020.

“Therefore our world will change and we ourselves will change. We must learn to live together in a society of tolerance, a democratic society.”

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She also urged against any military action targeting refugee vessels, and to create legal ways for asylum seekers to enter European territory.

Cracks in neoliberalism

Alexis Tsipras also talked about the third bailout deal agreed last summer between Greece and its international lenders, saying that a left-wing government in Greece managed to “crack” the wall of neoliberalism.

“We did not smash it, but we hope that our efforts will have results,” he stated, citing the political developments in Portugal, in Spain, and the “left-wing shift of the Labour Party” in the UK and Ireland.

The Greek leader warned that Europe would have no future if it didn’t cope with the crises, and called Europe’s progressive forces to raise a democratic wall against the far-right and Nazism.

“Europe will either be re-founded on the basis of its founding principles and the political equality of states, or will not go ahead united for too long,” he concluded.

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