ATHENS, Feb 17 (Reuters) – Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Tuesday his government would not succumb to “blackmail” and would instead quickly start voting in new laws to reverse bailout reforms.
In a combative speech, he signaled little intention of backing down Greece’s clash with its euro zone partners, despite a looming financial crisis.
Ignoring calls from across Europe to compromise on a plan to extend Greece’s bailout program, Tsipras said he was confident a deal on the country’s future would ultimately be found but that Athens would not climb down from its pre-election pledges.
“We are not in a hurry and we will not compromise,” Tsipras told his party’s lawmakers in parliament.
“We are working hard for an honest and mutually beneficial deal, a deal without austerity, without the bailout which has destroyed Greece in recent years, a deal without the toxic presence of the (bailout inspecting) troika.”
As if to drive home his point, Tsipras said parliament would start voting in bills this week to implement campaign pledges of protecting primary residences from foreclosures and banning the sale of mortgage loans to distressed funds.
A bill reversing labor reform and restoring collective bargaining agreements scrapped by European Union and International Monetary Fund lenders would soon be presented alongside another one to deal with the “humanitarian crisis” in Greece, he said.
“There has been a custom that newly-elected governments act differently from their pre-election promises,” he said. “I am saying it again, we are thinking of actually implementing our promises for a change.”
That appeared to contradict suggestions late on Monday that Athens was willing to refrain from unilateral action and not reverse existing commitments for an interim period.
The comments came a day after crunch talks with euro zone partners broke down in acrimony and raised the risk of Greece facing a full-blown crisis that could force it to impose capital controls or put it on the path out of the euro… see more