Syriza win to help Italy's push for EU flexibility

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Syriza win to help Italy's push for EU flexibility
Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras greets supporters following victory in the election in Athens on Sunday. Photo: Aris Messinis/AFP

The Greek election win for anti-austerity party Syriza could help Italy's push for greater flexibility in the EU's approach to budget and broader economic issues, Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said on Monday.


"There has been a tug of war for months between austerity and flexibility," Gentiloni said in an interview with Rai 3 television after the radical left-wing Syriza stormed to power on a pledge to renegotiate the terms of Greece's debts to international lenders.

"There is no doubt the Greek result, if politically managed by Greece and the European Union with realistic and flexible negotiations, favours the call for an end to the inflexibility we Italians have been making," he said.

"Two key words are needed now in Europe: Respect for democracy when a country votes and chooses that direction... (and) flexibility," he added.

Syriza routed the conservative New Democracy party of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in Sunday's election, putting Greece on a collision course with European and international creditors.

After his victory, Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras repeated his campaign pledge to renegotiate the terms of Greece's €240 billion bailout with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, which many Greeks blame for exacerbating the economic hardship the country has endured since the financial crisis.

"Europe since June has changed quite a lot, everybody is aware with the statements of the anti-European parties that Europe has to address the problem, and for several months now we have been discussing investments, growth, with Italy and France pushing Germany in that direction," Gentiloni said.

ECB President Mario Draghi's announcement of a larger than expected bond-buying programme to revive the eurozone "has contributed to moving things in that direction and now the Greek result can be seen as another contribution," he said.



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