الأحد , يونيو 14 2020

Greek PM takes on rebels before vote

Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras delivers a speech during a parliament meeting in Athens, Thursday, 16 July 2015

Mr Tsipras told MPs the Greek people had “pinned their hopes” on Syriza’s ability to find a solution to the debt crisis

Greece’s prime minister has taken on critics in his Syriza party ahead of another crucial vote on reforms.

Alexis Tsipras attacked rebel MPs who opposed an agreement with creditors, accusing them of “hiding behind the safety of my signature”.

MPs need to back the reforms for talks to start on a new €86bn bailout.

The vote is expected to pass with the support of opposition parties, but Mr Tsipras hopes to avoid a rebellion from within the ranks of Syriza.

Some 32 of the radical-left party’s 149 MPs – including former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis – voted against the first tranche of bailout measures last week. Another six abstained.

The rebellion reduced Mr Tsipras’s support within his own ruling coalition to 123 MPs, barely more than the minimum 120 required to sustain a minority government.

“Up until today I’ve seen reactions, I’ve read heroic statements but I haven’t heard any alternative proposal,” Mr Tsipras reportedly told Syriza MPs on Tuesday night.

He said the Greek people had “pinned their hopes” on the government’s ability to find a solution to the debt crisis.

Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said it was “extremely important” for the vote on financial and judicial reforms to pass so that talks on the bailout could begin on Friday.

Last week’s vote was about the austerity measures imposed by Greece’s creditors – a mix of economic reforms and budget cuts demanded by the eurozone countries and institutions before bailout talks could continue.

The measures that will come before the parliament on Wednesday are of a more structural nature, including:

  • a code of civil protection aimed at speeding up court cases
  • the adoption of an EU directive to bolster banks and protect savers’ deposits of less than €100,000
  • the introduction of rules that would see bank shareholders and creditors – not taxpayers – cover costs of a failed bank

More contentious measures – phasing out early retirement and tax rises for farmers – have been pushed back to August.


The issue of tax rises for Greek farmers has been put back until August

Greece’s public sector union has called for a protest during the emergency debate in parliament on Wednesday evening.

Asked if the threat of a Greek exit from the euro – or Grexit – had passed, EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said on Tuesday: “I think we’ve made a big step in that direction.”

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) confirmed on Monday that Greece had cleared its overdue debt repayments of €2.05bn (£1.4bn) and was no longer in arrears.

The repayments, which included €4.2bn to the European Central Bank (ECB), were made possible by a short-term EU loan of €7.16bn.

Greece’s next major deadline is 20 August, when it must pay €3.2bn owed to the ECB, followed by a payment of €1.5bn to the IMF in September.

The Greek government received a small boost on Tuesday when credit ratings agency Standard Poor’s raised the country’s rating by two notches to CCC+ from CCC-.

On Monday, Greek banks reopened after being closed for three weeks but many restrictions remain and Greeks are facing price rises after an increase in VAT.

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