Reuters press has reported on the impressive performance of the SYRIZA leader, Alexi Tsipras, in the presdidential debate for the EU Presidency.
“What happened in Greece is not a success story but a social tragedy that shouldn’t be repeated anywhere in Europe,” Tsipras said during a debate among candidates for president of the European Commission, to be appointed after EU Parliament elections May 22-25.
Tsipras, the European Left’s candidate in the European elections, made his first appearance in a string of televised debates among the contenders. These debates are the first of their kind as the EU seeks to show its relevance to increasingly hostile voters.
The other candidates to run the EU’s executive are centre-right Luxembourg politician Jean-Claude Juncker, 61-year old Belgian liberal Guy Verhofstadt, 32-year old Green politician Ska Keller from Germany and German Socialist Martin Schulz, 58.
Tsipras reiterated demands for Europe-wide debt reduction and called for an end to bailout-imposed austerity policies across Europe to boost economic growth.
“If we don’t finish with austerity, we’ll never solve the problem of unemployment,” said the Athens-trained civil engineer.
See full Reuters report here
The Wall Street Journal has also reported in positive terms on the impact and intervention of the SYRIZA leader in the debate:
Although Mr. Tsipras, whose party is polling at around 7%, is unlikely to be the next commission president, he nevertheless mixed up the debate. “The destructive policy of austerity is no way to address the big problem in Europe, which is unemployment,” he said, accusing Martin Schulz, the candidate of the center-left Socialists, and Jean-Claude Juncker, of the center-right European People’s Party, of forcing harsh spending cuts on already-struggling economies.
On-line polling after the debate, had Tsipras claim more than 50% of the vote as the winner – a remarkable result given there were 5 candidates on the podium and the European Left party is expected to poll around 7%.