ATHENS – Greece does not need new bailout loans, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in an interview in German magazine Stern to be published on Feb. 19, and said he looked forward to a win-win situation in talks with the country’s creditors and the Feb. 16 Eurogroup meeting.
The magazine followed Tsipras for two days in the Greek Parliament and at his office in the Maximos Mansion for a feature story ahead of the Feb. 16 Eurogroup meeting, and quoted him as saying he is open to dialogue and optimistic.
“I support a solution where everyone wins, a win-win solution,” he is quoted as saying, “I want to save Greece from a tragedy and protect Europe from being split apart.”
Tsipras told journalists Andreas Albes, Ferry Batzoglou and Andreas Petzold, “We do not need new bailout loans.”
Following the cabinet meeting that began on Feb. 13 and ended in the early morning hours on Feb. 14, Tsipras told the three journalists that, “Instead of money we need time, to implement our plan for reforms; I promise you, Greece will be a different country in six months.”
Stern mentioned that the bailout program ends at the end of February, and if an agreement is not reached with its creditors – the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund – Greece will face an economic collapse.
It mentioned among other things that the social insurance system can hardly take care of the victims of the crisis, that 1.3 million people are without a job, and hundreds of thousands do not have medical insurance.
It said that Tsipras wants to deal with the heaviest repercussions of the crisis with a program that according to his party SYRIZA will cost 12 billion euros; the program will depend on the willingness of EU members, especially Germany, to reach a compromise.
Asked to comment on his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Brussels, Tsipras told the interviewers, “I met a polite human being. She is not as strict as one would expect from press reports.”
She is a realistic politician who does not wish to jeopardize Europe’s future, he said. Speaking of the Eurogroup where a decision is expected to be finalised on Greece’s fiscal programme, Tsipras said, “Monday’s negotiation will be difficult, but I am optimistic – our power rests on the support of the Greek people.”