Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told parliament in no uncertain terms that a cash-for-reforms plan outlined by the European Commission is both “absurd” and “unrealistic.”
He added he hoped the proposal would be withdrawn and called on the troika of creditors to agree on an alternative deal, outlined by Athens.
“We need a solution,” said Tsipras. “Five years on, we need a conclusive solution both for Greece and Europe, a solution that will put an end to any talk of Greece leaving the euro for good. Talk that could work as a self-fulfilling prophecy of crisis.”
His speech was only the second in parliament since he assumed power in January 2015. It came a day after it was announced Greece would bundle and push back four key debt payments totaling 1.6 billion euros. They are now payable in one lump sum on June 30.
Vicky Pryce, Chief Economic Adviser at CEBR (Centre for Economics and Business Research), said the new date would give Greece some negotiating power.
“It gives a negotiating hand to the Greeks, because they are saying “we are not going to pay it unless we are sure that we are having some money coming through. But it also highlights the need for getting a solution as quickly as possible,” she said.
It’s the first time Greece has defaulted on a bailout payment in five years.
With the country on the verge of bankruptcy, fears of a Grexit from the euro zone are becoming more real by the day.