MADRID (Reuters) - The leaders of Europe and the International Monetary Fund are jeopardizing the European project by forcing Greece into a corner, the leader of Spain’s Podemos, an anti-austerity party allied with Greece’s ruling party Syriza, said on Saturday.
“The future of Europe is now at risk,” Pablo Iglesias said as euro zone countries appeared to be readying for a Greek default and possible exit from the euro currency.
“In my opinion the problem isn’t Greece, the problem is Europe. Germany and the IMF are destroying the political project of Europe,” Iglesias told reporters, speaking in English following a rally in support of Greece in the Spanish capital attended by several hundred people.
“The IMF and the German government are attacking democracy.”
After months of intense negotiations with lenders, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced on Friday that he would put the terms of the creditors’ “humiliating” bailout offer to a popular vote on July 5.
Finance ministers of the other 18 countries sharing the euro met for the first time without Greece on Saturday, rebuffing its pleas to extend an expiring bailout until after the referendum.
Without a deal on bailout cash, Athens is set to default on 1.6 billion euros of debt to the IMF on Tuesday.
Spain’s Podemos (“We Can”) surprised by taking five seats in elections for the European Parliament last May, just months after its formation, demonstrating how austerity-weary Spaniards were turning away from establishment parties as has been the case across Europe.
Podemos and rivals Ciudadanos (Citizens), a party billing itself as centrist, have chipped away at voter support for the older Socialists and ruling center-right People’s Party (PP) to turn the general election into a four-way race in just one year.
Reporting By Silvio Castellanos and Pablo Foley; Writing by Elisabeth O'Leary; Editing by Tom Brown