08 July 2015, The Tablet

Senior Greek prelate accuses Tsipras of incompetence

The president of Greece’s Catholic bishops’ conference, Bishop Franghiskos Papamanolis, accused Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of incompetence and said Greeks did not understand what they were voting for in Sunday’s referendum.

In the referendum 61 per cent of Greek voters rejected a bail-out plan from the country's creditors, which include the International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Union (EU), and the European Central Bank (ECB).

Bishop Papamanolis said voters did not know the contents of the agreement because it had not been translated into Greek. If they had clearly been asked “Do you want Europe, do you want the Euro, yes or no?” 80 per cent of people would have said yes, he said, adding: “And the Greek premier proved himself incompetent.”

Mr Tsipras told the European Parliament on Wednesday that he was confident of meeting an end-of-the-week deadline set by Eurozone leaders to reach a bailout deal or risk leaving the shared currency.

Bishop Dimitrios Salachas, Apostolic Exarch for Byzantine Rite Catholics in Greece, said a break now with Greece’s European partners was “unthinkable”. He cautioned: “We must arrive at a sustainable solution that will not lead the people to ruin,” the Italian news agency SIR reported.

The head of the Catholic aid agency, Caritas Greece, stressed that voters had said "no" to austerity, not to Europe and the Euro. What they rejected, he said, was “all those austerity measures that will only increase the poverty of the population, which is already great".

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