Greece bailout: PM Alexis Tsipras hails Brussels agreement and warns of real difficulties
Greece’s anti-austerity PM Alexis Tsipras has warned of “real difficulties” ahead, as his government faces February 23 deadline to submit a list of reforms to lenders.
Under a deal agreed on February 20, the list must be approved by the international creditors in order for Greece to secure a four-month extension of its bailout.
“We won a battle, not the war,” Alexis Tspiras said on February 21.
The deal is widely regarded as a major climb down for the prime minister, who won power vowing to reverse budget cuts.
Alexis Tsipras hailed the agreement as a “decisive step” that “achieved much” towards ending austerity, but added: “We have a long and difficult road ahead.”
The Greek cabinet is due to meet to discuss it on February 21.
No details have emerged about the potential list of reforms, which must be approved before eurozone members ratify the bailout extension on Tuesday.
Analysts say a collapse of the deal would revive fears of an exit from the euro, a so-called “grexit” – something both the EU and Greece say they want to avoid.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble stressed on February 20 that there would be no payment of new funds to Greece until the conditions of the deal had been met.
Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said he would work night and day until February 23 to devise the list of reforms.
“If the list of reforms is not agreed, this agreement is dead,” he admitted.
The Greek Communist Party (KKE) accused the coalition, which is led by its far-left rivals Syriza, of extending the bailout without getting the loan conditions changed.
“Ultimately the bill will be footed by the people, as it happened with all previous governments,” KKE leader Dimitris Koutsoumbas said.
The Greek government is already in trouble with its voters for seeking the bailout extension at all – something it swore it would never do.
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