Euro Zone Deal Cancels Past Austerity Commitments, Says Greek PM

On Saturday, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said that a funding agreement struck with euro zone ministers canceled austerity commitments made by a previous conservative-led government to international creditors.

Alexis Tsipras

Greece managed to secure a four-month extension to euro zone funding after ill-tempered negotiations. This extension will allow Greece to avert bankruptcy and a euro exit, if it comes up with promises of economic reforms by Monday.

“Yesterday we took a decisive step, leaving austerity, the bailouts and the troika,” Tsipras said in a televised statement. “We won a battle, not the war. The difficulties, the real difficulties …are ahead of us.”

Last month, Tsipras and his Syriza party won power on promises to end Greece’s EU/IMF bailout program and end cooperation with the hated “troika” — inspectors from the European Commission, European Central Bank and IMF who have monitored compliance of Greece with its austerity and reform commitments.

Tsipras said: “Yesterday’s agreement with the Eurogroup … cancels the commitments of the previous government for cuts to wages and pensions, for firings in the public sector, for VAT rises on food, medicine.” The Greek PM attacked conservatives at home and in the euro zone without naming names. “Yesterday we averted plans by blind conservative powers, within and outside the country, to asphyxiate Greece on Feb. 28,” he said.

“Greece achieved an important negotiating success in Europe. We showed determination and flexibility and in the end, we achieved our basic goal,” said Tsipras.

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