‘The bubble has burst’ – Busuttil blames Tsipras’s populism for Greece crisis

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil blames Greece’s “irresponsible and populist politics” for downfall; says Nationalist Party is giving a voice to NGOs and society.

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil has laid the blame for Greece’s financial disaster at its prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, arguing that Tsipras’s left-wing Syriza government had “deceived” the people when it had promised everything, only for the "bubble to burst once elected."

Speaking during an interview on Radio 101, Busuttil – who in the coming hours will depart for a visit to China – insisted the “irresponsible politics” were to blame for Greece’s troubles.

“Prior to its election, Tsipras and the Syriza party employed populist politics and told the people what they wanted to hear.  They promised everything to everyone, only for the bubble to burst once elected,” he said.

Speaking on the events unfolding in Brussels, Busuttil spoke of his disbelief as how things had panned out.

“Following the referendum last week, in which Tsipras urged the country to vote against the bailout conditions proposed by Greece’s creditors, he has now returned to the negotiating table with reforms that are harsher than the ones originally envisaged. This is incredible and born out of a politics of populism, where people are being told what they want to hear but in reality are being fed lies and deceitful statements,” he said.

Despite denouncing Greece and Tsipras, the Opposition leader explained that despite its limitations, Malta was right in helping Greece – even the €170 million it had loaned.

“However, we now expect Greece to honour its commitments, and if need be, it must implement the necessary measures to pay the money back,” he said.

Speaking on the extraordinary summit in Brussels, Busuttil insisted that Prime Minister Joseph Muscat should focus on Malta’s national interests. “If Greece were to leave the Eurozone, the area would no longer remain stable. It is in Malta’s national interests that the eurozone remains stable, and secondly, Greece must repay its loan; Malta should not pay for Greece’s irresponsibility.”

Asked about the party’s aspirations in China, Busuttil argued that his trip to China would build new bridges between the Nationalist Party and the China. Moreover, he also said that Malta’s relations with China have to be built on honesty and transparency, and that the trip proves the PN’s commitment to being an alternative party in government.

Turning his attention on the MEPA demerger, Busuttil argued that the Opposition is using its presence in parliament to give a voice to environmental NGOs and citizens who are against unsustainable development and greedy developers.

“The PN and society is general is not against sustainable development. What is important is that the last bits of countryside Malta has are not gobbled up by developers,” he said.

Criticising the proposed demerger of MEPA, the Opposition leader argued that if it were to be implemented, the demerger would give the government too much power over the environment and planning.

“The government is seeing the environment as an obstacle … the proposed demerger of MEPA gives the government total control over the fate of the environment. The last time the Maltese government had such control over the planning and the environment was during Mintoff’s and Lorry Sant’s tenure – which tenure was characterised by rampant corruption,” he said.

Meanwhile, Busuttil also renewed his call for parliamentary secretary Michael Falzon to resign over his “involvement” in the Gaffarena scandal and the handsome €250,000 BOV retirement package.

“The [MEPA] scandal is also linked with Michael Falzon, who instead of resigning over the Gaffarena scandal and the retirement package, has now proposed laws to destroy MEPA at the expense of the environment,” he said.

“Falzon knows Gaffarena well. He met him before the expropriation deal was struck, he sent a member of his private secretariat with Gaffarena, and then signed the deal. This is shameful,” he continued.

More in National