Fresh from success in Sunday’s general election, Greece’s new Prime Minster Alexis Tsipras has chaired his first cabinet meeting – setting out the priorities for his anti-bailout government.
Firmly opposed to the austerity imposed on Greece by its EU and IMF creditors, he pledged to negotiate a viable and fair solution, confounding predictions of doom.
Referencing Greek mythology, he told ministers: “We will prove Cassandra is wrong. We won’t get into a mutually destructive clash but we will not continue a policy of catastrophe or subjection”.
He added that he expected a “productive” meeting on Friday with Jeroen Dijsselbloem, head of the euro zone finance ministers’ group.
The government would not default on its debts added Tsipras, whose left-wing Syriza party, short of an overall majority, has formed a coalition with another anti-austerity party, the right- wing Independent Greeks.
He said the government would pursue balanced budgets but would not seek to build up “unrealistic surpluses” to service Greece’s massive public debt of more than 175 percent of gross domestic product.
Priorities, he said, would include helping the weakest sections of society, tackling corruption in the economy and cutting Greece’s record unemployment.