He promised ‘radical’ change in Greece and, at his first cabinet meeting since winning Sunday’s election, new Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras vowed to deliver by rolling back key parts of the country’s international bailout.
Rejecting the austerity imposed by EU and IMF creditors, Tsipras pledged to negotiate a viable and fair solution, confounding predictions of doom.
Referencing Greek mythology, he told ministers:
“Cassandra’s wrong. We won’t get into a mutually destructive clash – but we will not continue a policy of catastrophe and a policy of subjection”.
Greece would not default on its debt, he insisted.
Helping the weakest sections of society has been identified as a priority for the coalition government , formed by Tsipras’s left-wing Syriza party and its junior partner, the right-wing Independent Greeks.
“As a first step we will restore the cutbacks that were made on pensions as well as the Christmas bonus for all pensioners who are receiving less than 700 euros a month,” said Social Insurance Minister Dimitris Stratoulis.
Tsipras said he will avoid antagonism with debt-ridden Greece’s international creditors but efforts to renegotiate the country’s aid package are likely to meet stiff resistance
Our correspondent in Athens, Stamatis Giannisis, said:
“In this inaugural cabinet meeting, Mr. Tsipras appeared to have abandoned the harsh rhetoric of his election campaign and be adopting a much more realistic approach both in his government’s relations with its EU counterparts and in tough domestic issues.”