Giorgos Stathakis, the top economist of the left-wing opposition party SYRIZA is to travel once more to the belly of what many in his party would consider the beast: the City of London, where he is to meet with bankers and international investors.
The meetings will take place behind closed doors and away from the prying eyes of the press, providing City executives with an opportunity to sit opposite a key member of SYRIZA’s economic committee for two days and ask him about whatever they would like to learn about SYRIZA’s economic platform, be that the party’s stance on privatizations or the country’s debt.
Mr Stathakis will undoubtedly seek to present the party’s anti-austerity platform while reassuring international investors that Greece will remain a stable and attractive place for investments.
It is a role that Mr Stathakis has played in the past. The party has stated that it prefers ‘unmediated talks’ with investors in part because it believes (not without reason) that the government has helped cultivate a distorted view of SYRIZA abroad.
Stathakis must assuage not only potential fears of international investors, but also concerns from within SYRIZA over the party’s more centrist positioning. In particular Panagiotis Lafazanis, the leader of the fringe ‘Left Platform’ within SYRIZA, who reportedly warned Giorgos Milios (who will also be in London), “be careful, don’t make any agreements.”
The move to hold direct meetings between the two SYRIZA economists and top investors in London also irritated other SYRIZA officials who claimed that the move bypassed the party’s structures. They have requested that Stathakis and Milios brief SYRIZA’s political secretariat on the outcomes of their London meetings once they return.