Alexis Tsipras: Bailout the only way out

Greece must implement its bailout programme fast to achieve its main aim of regaining access to market financing and escaping international supervision, re-elected leftist prime minister Alexis Tsipras has said.

Alexis Tsipras: Bailout the only way out

Speaking to lawmakers of his Syriza party on the day a new parliament was sworn in, the premier said he aimed to complete the first review of an €86bn bailout agreed in August, as soon as possible so Athens could open negotiations with its eurozone partners on debt relief.

“Implementing the bailout is not going to be easy. But we are obliged to make these decisions although we don’t like them,” Tsipras said.

“It’s necessary, in order to exit this system of surveillance and immediately start the discussion on the debt issue.

“Our main target is to exit this system of supervision, and regain market access. But a necessary condition for that is to return to growth,” he added.

Tsipras performed a spectacular U-turn in July after calling a referendum to reject austerity terms for a bailout, only to accept more stringent conditions after Greece was forced to shut its banks, ration cash and impose capital controls.

He also said Syriza would aim to change the country by fighting “the establishment”, corruption and tax evasion, and reforming the justice system, education and social welfare.

European Union officials have cautioned Greece against expecting massive relief on its debt when talks get under away after the completion of the first bailout review by the EU, ECB and IMF monitors.

Klaus Regling, head of the eurozone’s bailout fund, told the Financial Times last week that Greece did not need large-scale debt relief and had already received the most concessionary loan terms “in world history”.

EU sources have told Reuters the bloc could reach a consensus on capping Greece’s annual gross borrowing costs at 15% of its economic output, by extending loan maturities and repayment grace periods.

An IMF source said it believed Greece needed easier terms, closer to the 10% annual gross borrowing cost it aims to achieve for developing countries.

The IMF has made Greek compliance with the bailout programme and adequate eurozone debt relief, conditions for its continued involvement in Greece.

Berlin, the eurozone’s leading economy with the largest exposure to Greece, has ruled out any “haircut” but agreed to consider longer maturities and grace periods.

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