Greece needs a bridge loan not a bailout according to its new prime minister.
A defiant Alexis Tsipras has laid out his plans to dismantle what he calls Greece’s ‘cruel’ austerity programme.
It was his first major speech to parliament since his Syriza party’s convincing election win last month.
In it he promised to reverse reforms imposed by Greece’s lenders but by doing so put himself on a collision course with the EU.
“What the Greek government is pursuing through negotiations with our partners is a new deal, a ‘bridge agreement’ until June which will give us the fiscal space that genuine debt negotiations require, along with a new programme of cooperation between Greece and its European partners,” Tsipras told Greek lawmakers.
Greece’s current programme of loans ends on February 28. A final 7.2 billion euros is still to be negotiated but Tsipras wants the so-called ‘bridge loan’ to keep Greece afloat instead of extending the international bailout.
His comments showed little intent of heeding EU warnings to stick to commitments on Greece’s 240 billion euro bailout. In fact his measures included reinstating pension bonuses,canceling an unpopular property tax and raising the minimum wage back to pre-crisis levels, ‘to heal the wounds of austerity’.
It was music to the ears of his Cabinet: Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said he had been deeply moved by the speech. Dimitris Stratoulis who is Minister for Social Security said the people were the main criteria for government policies.
Greece’s current programme of loans ends on February 28. A final 7.2 billion euros is still to be negotiated.
Reporting for euronews Giannisis Stamatis said:
“The prime minister has announced that he is now ready to unveil his alternative plan on the Greek debt to his European partners. How convincing this plan will be, it remains to be seen at Wednesday’s Eurogroup.”
Tsipras' speech great for Greek people's sentiments, disastrous for a potential deal with the Eurozone.— Yannis Koutsomitis (@YanniKouts) February 8, 2015