Tsipras claims Brexit vote was due to EU austerity demands

 
Oliver Gill
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Syriza Party Rally Before This Weekend's General Election
Alexis Tsipras said that he sympathises with the decision of the British people (Source: Getty)

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has pointed the finger squarely at EU leaders for the outcome of the EU referendum last Thursday.

Tsipras referenced the “chronic deficiencies” of the EU leadership, and claimed that its insistence on austerity policies were the driving force behind the UK’s vote to leave.

Speaking at the Syriza party central committee on Saturday, Tsipras said: "As much as the decision of the British people saddens us, it is a decision to be respected.”

Having led his Syriza party to two general election wins in 2015, both giving him a mandate to end the years of austerity, Tsipras and his government were subsequently forced accept restrictions on public spending in order to obtain eurozone bailouts. Such bailouts ensured Greece’s continued membership of the eurozone and helped the country service its significant debt pile.

“We must not put the blame on the British people ... when the borders remain open on austerity policies but stay closed for people,” Tsipras said.

But while the UK was voting to leave, the Greek Prime Minister’s office confirmed that Tsipras had spoken to French President Francois Hollande over the weekend, with the leaders affirming to each other the need for EU solidarity.

"The common assessment was the need to refound the principles of democracy, social protection and solidarity in Europe," it said in a statement.

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