Alexis Tsipras, whose Syriza party is vying for first place in polls ahead of the country’s June 17 election, is trying to call the European Union’s bluff over funding for Greece. In this television interview, Tsipras says: “We have no sense that European partners will follow this tactic of blackmail heard from some quarters and stop funding” even if his party were to drop Greece’s side of the bailout deal. He also says a halt to funding “would be catastrophic not only for Greece but for the entire euro area.”
Tsipras’s pledge during the election campaign to back out of the bailout agreement with the EU and International Monetary Fund is a bet Brussels and the ECB will stop short of kicking Greece out of the euro zone, as Maria Petrakis and Elliott Gotkine report. His message is also aimed at gaining votes next Sunday: as many as 85 percent of Greeks don’t want the country to leave the euro zone, according to a May poll by Skai TV in Athens.