- The Washington Times - Friday, June 24, 2016

With many speculating that his country might be the next to defect from the European Union, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Friday that the EU must make a major course correction if it wants head off a deeper crisis following Britain’s vote Thursday to leave the bloc.

“The British referendum shall be either an alarm awakening the sleepwalker heading towards the cliff or the beginning of a very dangerous and slippery course for our peoples,” the leftist prime minister said in a statement Friday.

“And it is precisely for this reason we need an immediate change of course, democratic and progressive breakthroughs in Europe — changes in perceptions, mentalities and ultimately changes in policies.”

Athens has been at loggerheads with EU officials in Brussels and powerful EU nations such as Germany as it struggles to overcome a massive debt crisis that has sent unemployment soaring amid a Great Depression-scale slump. Greece has also faced the brunt of the immigration wave that has broken across the bloc, with huge numbers of refugees from the Middle East and Central Asia being housed in Greece in hopes of continuing on to other EU countries.

Mr. Tsipras said it was the “a la carte” refugee regulations and the harsh austerity policies being imposed on Greece fuel the euroskepticism and nationalism that powered the “Leave” forces to victory in the U.K.’s referendum. The lack of democratic accountability by the EU’s leaders only fuels the problem, he argued.

“We need, more than ever, a major counterattack of the European progressive forces in order to stop the onslaught of the extreme right and nationalism that find fertile ground in the conditions created by austerity and the unaccountability of the market,” he said. “…It has been proved these days the haughty and arrogant technocrats’ speech not only do not move the European peoples, but rather anger them.”

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