Wednesday 24 January 2018

Greek PM rules out third bailout

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras
Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras

Greece's new radical left government has no intention of seeking yet another bailout deal from international creditors and will spend coming months trying to ease the terms of its current commitments, the financially struggling country's prime minister has said.

Alexis Tsipras's remarks came hours after politicians in Germany, a key rescue loan provider, overwhelmingly approved the four-month extension of Greece's financial bailout.

"The bailout agreements are over, both in form and in essence," Mr Tsipras told a cabinet meeting. "Some people are betting on a third bailout in July ... but we will disappoint them."

Mr Tsipras's radical left Syriza party, which is governing in coalition with the small right-wing Independent Greeks, was elected a month ago on a highly ambitious platform of cancelling the austerity measures that accompanied Greece's 240 billion euro (£174 billion) rescue loans.

But despite repeated and often unorthodox attempts to win over other European creditor countries, Greece was forced to retreat from initial promises that included a massive new write-down of the country's crushing debt.

Last week, fellow members of the 19-member eurozone agreed on the four-month loan agreement extension, in return for which Greece offered a fluid commitment to budget reforms.

Mr Tsipras said his first act of legislation would be to table a draft law on Monday to address what Syriza calls the "humanitarian crisis" - extensive poverty brought about by the deep income cuts and shockingly high unemployment resulting from creditor-mandated cutbacks.

"This is our foremost duty towards a society that has been severely tried for five years," he said.

"The Bill will contain specific action to provide free power and food to thousands of families that need it, to make Greece once again a civilised country ... So that no child is cold, no child faints from hunger or goes to school hungry."

Mr Tsipras also pledged to provide housing for 30,000 people, limit evictions and facilitate payment terms for an estimated 3.7 million people with tax debts of up to 5,000 euro (£3,623).

Press Association

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