Athens Digest 13.05.2019

• New Democracy calls on Tsipras to resign if SYRIZA loses European elections

• Creditors expected to raise concerns on Greece following Tsipras’ announcement

• Strong Greek response to Turkey on Aegean islands

# As expected, the government won a confidence vote in Parliament on Friday, ahead of local, regional and European Parliament elections on May 26. Premier Alexis Tsipras, whose ruling SYRIZA trails in polls behind conservative New Democracy (ND), said the European elections will be a vote of confidence by the people in his government which last week announced a series of relief measures. New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis called on Tsipras yesterday to resign if SYRIZA loses on May 26 and to call for early national elections in June. At a conference yesterday, Mitsotakis said that “ND’s priority is safety throughout the country” in response to what conservatives have repeatedly claimed is the government’s tolerance to lawlessness.

# Greek economy is expected be discussed either officially or on the sidelines of next Thursday’s Eurogroup meeting. The recent announcement of relief measures by the Greek government has fuelled concerns among the institutions and the country’s lenders that it is backtracking on a series of pre and post-bailout commitments. These discrepancies were noted last week by EC Vice-President Valdis Dobrovskis and IMF mission chief Peter Dolhman who said that the measures are in the opposite direction to where they should be headed. A senior European official is expected to weigh in on the issue tomorrow ahead of Thursday’s Eurogroup.

# Greece’s foreign ministry has responded strongly to a claim by its Turkish counterpart that Greece wants to drag NATO into a dispute between itself and Turkey.  Yesterday,Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy denounced “the attempts of Greece to abuse international organizations, including NATO, and draw them into these disputes with the aim of justifying her national positions,”adding that “the Eastern Aegean islands were put under demilitarized status by virtue of several international agreements.”
“We remind Turkey that the legal status of the Aegean has been expressly and unquestionably clarified by the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne and the 1947 Treaty of Paris. The latter, however, grants no rights to Turkey, as it is not one of the counterparties. Besides, on the basis of the provisions of United Nations’ Charter, Greece will never give up its right to take appropriate measures to legally defend and protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Greek Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Alexandros Gennimatas said.

On Our Radar: Tsitsipas continues rise
Rising 20-year-old Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas may have  lost 6-3, 6-4 in the Madrid Open final yesterday to world number one Novak Djokovic but made a huge statement by handing second-ranked  Rafael Nadal his third defeat on clay ( 6-4, 2-6, 6-3) in the semi-final on Saturday. Seventh-ranked Tsitsipas became the 14th player to beat Nadal on clay since the beginning of the Spaniard’s illustrious career.