The first English translation
Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras Addresses the Greek People
Men and women of Greece ,
The Greek government has been battling for the last six months in unprecedented economic asphyxia to negotiate with our European partners and apply your 25th January mandate to end austerity and bring well-being and social justice back to our country. We want a long-term agreement in conformity with the laws of democracy and European rules and regulations that will definitively show us the way out of this crisis. All through these negotiations we have been asked to apply memorandum agreements that were agreed by previous Greek governments, even though the Greek people categorically repudiated them in the last election. But never, for one mimute, did we think of giving in and betraying your trust in us.
After five long gruelling months the other day (Thursday ) our Eurozone partners handed the Hellenic Republic and the Greek people an ultimatum.
It contradicts and disrespects those European constitutional principles and values which are the values of our common European home. The Greek Government has been asked to accept a proposal that loads another intolerably heavy burden on to the Greek people. It threatens the success of our economic and social recovery, maintains a general lack of security and increases social inequalities to an immense degree.
This proposal includes new neasures to deregulate the labour market even more, more cuts to pensions and public sector salaries and more VAT on groceries, food and drink, restaurants and similar businesses and the tourist industry. It also wants to abolish the lower taxation rates that apply in our Greek islands. This proposal directly negates common European achievements and violates fundamental labour rights , the rights to equality and dignity . It is proof that that some of our partners were not interested in a long-term settlement but are searching for a way to humiliate the entire Greek people.
This proposal provides evidence that the International Monetary Fund adheres to a policy of hard oppression and austerity. It shows our European leaders urgently need to rise to the occasion and take initiatives that will put an end to the public debt crisis in Greece – this crisis that involves other European countries and threatens the very future of European unity.
Men and women of Greece,
We are aware of our history. We acknowledge the struggles and sacrifices past generations of Greeks made to guarantee our democracy and national sovreignty. We accept our responsibility for the future of our country. Acceptance of this responsibility means we can only reply to the ultimatum in accordance with the sovreign will of the Greek people
A few hours ago (Friday evening ) at the Council of Ministers, I suggested holding a referendum so that the sovreign Greek people would decide. Agreement was unanimous.
Tomorrow (Saturday) the Greek parliament will debate the proposal to hold a referendum on Sunday 5th July so the Greek people can decide whether to accept or refuse the proposal
I have already informed the President of France, the Chancellor of Germany and the Head of the European Central Bank of our decision . In my letter tomorrow I will ask the leaders of the European Union to prolong the bailout programme for another few days so that the Greek people can decide freely, untrammelled by obligations and blackmail, as is mandated by the constitution of our country and the democratic traditions of Europe.
Men and women of Greece ,
I ask you to respond with sovreign authority and pride, as our history teaches us, to this blackmailing ultimatum. It proposes we accept endless grinding, humiliating austerity with no prospective of a social and economic recovery. We shall respond with democracy, cold blood and determination to persecutory austerity’s authoritarianism and dispotism.
Greece is where Democracy started and for that very reason Greece must give a vibrant democratic response to the European and International communities.
I personally undertake to respect your democratic decision, whatever choice you make.
I am confident your choice will honour our homeland and will send a message of dignity to the world.
At this critical time in history we must remember that Europe is the home of all its peoples, There are no masters of the house and guests in Europe. Greece is and will always remain an essential part of Europe and Europe is an essential part of Greece but a Europe without democracy will be a Europe without identity or compass.
In a spirit of national harmony, cold blood and determination I call upon all of you, men and women of Greece, to make a decision that is worthy of us.
For us, for the generations to come, for our forefathers, for the sovreignty and dignity of our people .
The Referendum Question
“Do you accept the institutions’ proposal as it was presented to us on 25th June in the Eurogroup?”
Response from Europe: Saturday June 27th The finance ministers from 18 European countries refused to extend Greece’s bailout beyond Tuesday, hastening the likelihood of Greece’s ejection from the euro.
Background that led to referendum and reply to refusal to extend bailout
Yanis Veroufakis, Greek Finance Minister
Immediately after 5th July, if the people have voted Yes, the institutions’ proposal will be signed.
Until then, during the next week, as the referendum approaches, any deviation from normality, especially in the banking sector, will be invariably interpreted as an attempt to coerce Greek voters.
Over the next 48 hours Mario Draghi, Head of the European Central Bank, has to decide whether to keep his 2012 pledge ” to do whatever it takes to save the euro” or to pull the plug on funding for Greece.
If Draghi pulls the plug, he could be held responsible for potential riots on the streets of Athens and national unrest.
If he keeps the funding channels open, he will be accused of acting illegally and overstepping his mandate by financing a eurozone government.
UPDATE: 28/5/2015: According to the BBC, Mr Draghi has made his decision
The European Central Bank is expected to end emergency lending to Greece’s banks on Sunday (today)
France is not happy. Prime Minister Manuel Valls said
“The European Central Bank is independent, but I don’t doubt it will assume its responsibilities,”
“I don’t think it can cut off support, to put it another way.”
Final Decision: The EC B has decided to maintain the emergency liquidity support on offer to Greece, but has also not provided any extra help.
So Mr Draghi hasn’t pulled the plug, but has provided no extra funding to cover the money that has flowed out of Greek banks this weekend. He has just tightened the screws and sent the message that Frankfurt – and by extension Brussels – would be willing to watch the Greek banking sector fail.
Greek Stock market will not open tomorrow. Banks closed until the Tuesday after the referendum (July 7th) , maximum daily withdrawal for Greek citizens = 60 Euros
Repercussions: The impact of a Greek collapse will have a deep political and economic impact on the rest of Europe, causing recriminations over the conduct of five years of austerity and bailouts which, in the Greek case at least, have failed. “This is about our destiny,” said Peter Kažimír, the Slovak minister.
Notes from Translator:
PS – the translation is accurate in spirit but is probably not literal. I was working from a translation from Greek (which I don’t speak) into a European language I am fluent in. Syntax and rhetorical linguistic devices are very different in all 3 languages. I have also inserted the days (Thursday, Friday etc ) to guide the reader through the timeline of events over the last few days.