ATHENS – Greece’s new Left-driven coalition government has said again it will not take any more money from international lenders.
The country has been surviving since 2010 on two rescue packages of 240 billion euros ($272 billion) from the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB).
But that came with attached harsh austerity measures that have already brought down two governments.
The new administration, led by Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras and his partner, the far-right Indepenent Greeks (ANEL) campaigned against those terms.
“(Greece) will not continue with a program which has the characteristics of the programs of previous governments,” SYRIZA spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis told Greek TV.
Sakellaridis also said that Greece has agreed with its European partners that there needs to be a “national reform plan” to deal with decades-long issues of the economy but they can’t agree with what it is as most of the loan monies run out on Feb. 28.
Sakellaridis said SYRIZA will hold true to its promises to restore social benefits but didn’t say how that could be reconciled with the lack of money if a new deal can’t be reached with the lenders.
Regarding labour and pension issues, he said: “We’re willing, where there are issues of privilege, to discuss them… but we’re not going to clash with society.”
Sakellaridis also said the government would find a way for the country’s battered banking system to work in the interests of economic growth but didn’t say how that would happen either.