ATHENS – Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has again called on the country’s creditors to reach a compromise to release critical aid as long as he doesn’t have to.
Tsipras said he will stick with the promises his now-ruling Radical Left SYRIZA made ahead of the Jan. 25 snap elections in which they unseated the coalition of the New Democracy Conservatives of then-Premier Antonis Samaras and the PASOK Socialists.’
Greece on Feb. 20 was given a four-month bailout extension on the promise to deliver a credible list of reforms but has failed, delaying a critical 7.2-billion euro ($8 billion) installment that is among the last of 240 billion euros ($260 billion) from the troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) that began in 2010.
Tsipras said he wants the money without breaking his promise to reverse harsh austerity measures although he’s shown some signs of relenting on his self-declared “red lines,” iring the far-far left in his far-left party.
The government said it can’t make a 300-million euro ($329.12 million) payment due the IMF on June 5, which would technically trigger a default and fears Greece could be pushed out of the Eurozone as the country is going broke fast.
Tsipras said he’s unwilling to make concessions but wants the troika to do so to break the stand-off that threatens economic catastrophe for Greece.
Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said the government has given in 75 percent though and that the troikas now has to show some leniency.
“Greece has made enormous strides reaching a deal, it is now up to the institutions to do their bit,” Varoufakis said May 24 on BBC’s Andrew Marr Show. “It is not in their interests as our creditors that the cow that produces the milk should be beaten into submission to the extent that the milk will not be enough for them to get their money back.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande last week gave Tsipras until the end of May to reach an agreement on its aid program, including economic policy changes demanded by creditors.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, whose country has put up the bulk of loans and been the toughest taskmaster, said it’s Tsipras who has to give.
“That is the condition for completing the current program,” Schaeuble said in a Deutschlandfunk radio interview aired May 24. “The problems are rooted in Greece. And now Greece does have to fulfill its commitments.”