The Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras probably was not expecting much solidarity from his Italian counterpart Matteo Renzi, a champion of the very same EU-sponsored reforms which are opposed by Mr Tsipras. Indeed, in the last European election there was an Italian “Tsipras List” running against Mr Renzi’s Democratic Party.
However Mr Renzi’s tone, in an interview to the financial newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, was unexpectedly harsh.
Mr Renzi labeled Mr Tsipras’ Government as “pointlessly stubborn” and added that “Greece can get different terms but it must respect the rules, otherwise there won’t be a community anymore. Excuse me, we reformed our pensions, but for sure we didn’t take early retirement away from the Italians to leave it for the Greeks! We reformed our labor market, but for sure our money can’t be used by some Greek shipowner to avoid paying taxes! And I could go on. I would like to add that, if this becomes a lawless Far West, what will happen in Spain in October? And in France in a year and a half? Asking for flexibility within the rules is one thing, presuming to be more cunning than anything else is another. We want to save Greece, but the Greek people must be willing to do that, too. Otherwise it’s not going to work”.