Athens.- (GreekNewsOnline, ANA-MPA)
Greece is taking back its sovereignty after a decision from creditors to provide the country with debt relief, making its loans sustainable, said Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Friday. Speaking at a festive ceremony held at Zappeion Hall to mark the debt deal, the premier said that Greece is turning a page, moving away from its eight-year downturn.
“Greece is becoming again a normal country. It is taking back its political and economic sovereignty. Greece is standing on its feet again,” he said.
Addressing lawmakers from the two coalition parties – Syriza and Independent Greeks – Tsipras donned a tie — a burgundy affair worn with a white shirt and blue suit. It sat slightly askew, and he ostentatiously removed it at the end of his speech.
The left-wing politician eschews neckties, while otherwise conforming to the dress code of international leaders. He said soon after being elected that he would only wear one when Greece had settled its debt problems.
Over the following three years, he received several ties from the more playful of his foreign colleagues.
The country does not have to borrow money to cover debts for three years, he added, highlighting that the country will be able to make its own decisions and provide some tax relief measures as of 2019.
“The supervision foreseen by the rules of the European Union have nothing to do with the mechanisms of the bailout supervision that we have experienced,” he said. “Greece will have the responsibility of itself and its future,” he added.
Tsipras reiterated that this government will see out its four-year term, which ends in September next year.
Six years ago, a citizens movement came into being to restore national sovereignty and dignity to Greece by freeing the country from the shackles of the IMF, Independent Greeks (ANEL) leader Panos Kammenos said at an event at Zappeion Hall held by the ruling coalition to celebrate Greece’s successful final review of its adjustment program by its creditors.
Speaking after Prime Minister and Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras, Kammenos, also national Defense minister, referred to his party’s founding in 2012 and said its deputies and those of its senior coalition partner Syriza are now vindicated “for surviving all attacks” as a coalition to bring Greece’s adjustment program to a successful completion.
“We have not reached the end of this common journey with Alexis Tsipras, as some people hoped for,” he said; “this collaboration was, is and will be an honest collaboration to the benefit of our homeland and its people,” he added, praising Tsipras for his leadership.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, in a meeting on Friday to brief President Prokopios Pavlopoulos on the results of the June 21 Eurogroup, said it was an agreement that reflects the moral obligation of Greece’s partners in response to the sacrifices made by the Greek people.
“June 21, 2018 will go down in history as a very important day for the country. It represents a new page for the country. This does not mean that we should abandon the prudent path of fiscally balanced budgets and structural reforms that the country needs, but it means that we are leaving behind the thorny path of memoranda, the imposition of extreme austerity and the suspension of a significant portion of the economic sovereignty of governments that we experienced in the previous years,” stated Tsipras.
The agreement on the debt is far better than the markets’ anticipated, Tsipras added, noting that it will help prevent fragmentation of the eurozone’s and to further the vision of European integration.
On his part, Pavlopoulos noted that many of the sacrifices required of the Greeks “were not entirely caused by our mistakes,” adding that “some very important sacrifices were the result of mistakes made due to the content of the programmes,” precisely because these had been designed by others, not by Greeks. “This is now proven,” he added.
Debt relief “a far
cry from the
Tsipras built up”
“The debt relief Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras got is a far cry from the expectations he built up and from the commitments Greece had secured from its partners as far back as 2012,” New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Friday, referring to the Eurogroup decision earlier in the day.
The main opposition leader said ND would table a proposal on Monday for an ex-agenda discussion on the economy. He said that Tsipras “will give account for the tribulations he brought the Greek people and the binding agreements to which he acquiesced for the day after (the adjustment program) in Greece.”
Tsipras “cynically avoids talking about two needless memoranda which he burdened Greeks with, and about the generalized austerity and tsunami of taxes for three consecutive years,” Mitsotakis said, calling him “impudent and presumptuous, insulting the intelligence of the Greeks, (…) who will be paying for his choices for many years to come.”
Earlier on Friday, Main opposition New Democracy (ND) on Friday attacked the government for its failure to achieve high growth rates, which were the only way to alleviate the country’s problems.
In a statement, ND said that it was waiting anxiously for prime minister’s address, to see whether he would announce what the Eurogroup had unfortunately confirmed after its meeting on Thursday.
According to ND, there will be a new round of pension cuts in six months, along with a lowering of the tax free allowance, while Greece will have to meet primary surplus targets of 3.5 pct of GDP until 2022 and then 2.2 pct until 2060. “For this fourth memorandum signed by SYRIZA, Greece will be subject to quarterly reports under enhanced surveillance, something that did not apply to any other country,” it said.
“Yesterday’s agreement on debt could have been signed in 2014 if Tsipras did not want to test his illusions on the back of the Greeks. What Greece needs is high, sustainable growth. This government has proven that it cannot achieve this. Greece needs political change. And it needs it now,” the announcement said.