Greece’s Tsipras says the era of austerity is over

Greece's Tsipras says the era of austerity is over

ATHENS, Greece — Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras says the era of austerity is over for his country, painting a positive picture Friday of reforms the country has agreed to take after its latest bailout program ends in 2018.

Speaking in parliament, Tsipras described the deal reached Monday as an “exceptional success” and said it showed the country’s creditors accepted Greece’s insistence that it could no longer bear any further budget austerity.

“I am fully convinced we achieved an honourable compromise,” Tsipras said, adding that all sides at the eurozone finance ministers’ meeting in Brussels had agreed for the “first time after seven years … to leave the path of continued austerity behind us.”

On Monday, Greece agreed to legislate new reforms to come into effect in 2019, but said these will be fiscally neutral: for every euro’s worth of new burdens on the Greek taxpayer, an equal amount of relief will be granted.

In return, Greece’s creditors agreed to send their bailout inspectors back to Athens next week for further talks to complete a long overdue review of progress made in Greece’s bailout.

Tsipras said both creditor-requested new measures and government-proposed relief measures will be legislated at the same time, and that therefore there was no conditionality for the relief measures.

The prime minister’s left-led coalition government, trailing in polls, has presented the deal as a decisive, positive step forward for austerity-weary Greeks hammered by seven years of a financial crisis that plunged the country into an economic depression.

No details have been provided of what the new reforms will entail, although there is widespread speculation they will include a broadening of the tax base and further pension and labour reforms.

Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos left the Brussels meeting without making any statements explaining the deal, and provided no details during a brief appearance in parliament Thursday. Government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos on Tuesday said no specifics could be provided as the reforms were subject to negotiation and agreement with the country’s creditors.

Greece has depended on three international bailout funds since 2010, when it became locked out of bond markets by sky-high borrowing rates.

In return for the rescue loans, it has had to overhaul its economy, imposing rounds of spending cuts and tax hikes. The austerity saw the country’s economy contract by more than a quarter and sent unemployment soaring. The jobless figure now hovers at around 23 per cent, down from a high of 27 per cent.

Elena Becatoros, The Associated Press

Just Posted

RCMP hunt for suspect in West Kelowna bank robbery

Suspect used a note and fled bank Saturday with an undisclosed amount of cash

Community Leader Awards: Shelley Pacholok

The Kelowna Capital News honours those who give back in the community

International Arts Festival returns to Kelowna

Living Things is a month-long festival with live performances by artists from around the world

Legion bell prank hits sour note

Anger erupts after Summerland Legion member removes bell from Peachland Legion

Kelowna Art Gallery members’ exhibition offers variety of media

Encounters will be held from Dec. 2 to Feb. 3

Vehicle with dog inside stolen from Oliver gas station

A black Honda CRV was stolen from the Oliver Chevron early Sunday morning

Team Canada loses 5-2 over the Czech Republic at World Junior A Challenge

Vees’ Tychonick drops in one of Team Canada West’s pair of goals

Site C decision coming Monday

Premier John Horgan to announce fate of dam project at B.C. legislature

PIGS bring Pink Floyd sound to Kelowna

Victoria band pays tribute to iconic British band on Feb. 10 at Mary Irwin Theatre

Letter: Another flagger dies; when will you slow down?

You have all seen our signs, trucks and my favorite our cones. Why don’t you slow down?

Kelowna-developed technology to be unveiled at Summerhill

Kelowna winery and tech company introduces new technology for phone or tablet

California couple name daughter after Revelstoke

Revy Elle Atashroo was born on Nov. 27. Her name honours the town her parents loved exploring.

Most Read