New York.- By Apostolos Zoupaniotis
Main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras who is visiting the United States from January 21 – 26 is expected to meet with U.S. officials, a well informed source at the State Department told Greek News.
“We are aware that Alexis Tsipras, leader of the Greek Syriza Party, will visit Washington DC in late January. As official leader of the Greek opposition, we expect he will meet with Department of State officials. We have nothing to announce at this time.”
A source in Washington told the Greek News that most probably Alexi Tsipras will meet with Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Philip Gordon. He is also expected to meet with members of U.S. Congress.
Tsipras is arriving in Washington on Monday afternoon (after the inauguration) and on Tusday at 2:30 pm he will speak at the Brooking Institution.
An announcement by the prominent Washington think tank says Tsipras’ address will focus on the future economic challenges, Greece’s prospects and the policies Europe and Greece should follow to deal with the economic crisis.
“Tsipras’ remarks will touch on themes including: economic and social prospects for his own country; the relationship between Athens and the rest of Europe, including what reforms are needed in Greece and Europe to address the crisis; and what role, if any, the U.S. can play in assisting Greece and Europe tackle their current problems.
Both Mr. Tsipras and the SYRIZA coalition have been vocal opponents of European austerity measures in response to the euro crisis. Those positions have led to a surge in public support for both the SYRIZA coalition and for Mr. Tsipras personally, placing either at, or near, the top in various Greek opinion surveys in recent months. Mr. Tsipras is the youngest person ever to lead the official-opposition party in the Greek Parliament.
Brookings Managing Director William Antholis will provide introductory remarks and, with Brookings Senior Fellow Domenico Lombardi, will moderate the discussion with Alexis Tsipras, including questions from the audience.”
While in New York he will have meetings with Nobelists Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Grugman and speak at the CUNY Graduate Center and Columbia University. He is also expected to have meetings with leaders of the Greek American Community.
Alexi Tsipras is currently in Germany and on Monday he will have his first ever meeting with Germany’s Federal Minister of Finance, Wolfgang Scheuble, in Berlin. The meeting was arranged before Christmas in consultation with Germany’s left-wing party Die Linke.
Speaking at the European Left party’s Executive Committee meeting on Saturday, Mr. Tsipras said the neoliberal policy of austerity currently in use is dangerous both to Greece and all of Europe, Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras.
Tsipras spoke of a “dead-end program” and of Greece serving as an experimental case, adding that the restructuring of the debt was “a shaving of the Greek people, not of banks.”
“The greatest problem in Greece is people’s disappointment,” he said, explaining that Greeks felt hopeless “over exiting the catastrophic program in the near future.” National elections and the voting in Parliament on austerity measures did not succeed in overturning this policy, while the measures went through by slight majority.
On Sunday, the SYRIZA leader met with party leaders, and on Monday he will be meeting with German
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble hopes to convince Alexis Tsipras, Greek main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader, to support reforms in Greece, according to German finance ministry spokeswoman Marianne Kothe on Friday.
Kothe said that Schaeuble “is of the opinion that for the reform process to work in Greece, it is important that it be supported by all political powers.” She added that during the meeting, which was scheduled at Tsipras’ request, Germany would “use this conversation to promote this [idea].”
“It is important to plan talks when opinions differ,” she said.