In his speech at the European Parliament in the French city of Strasbourg Wednesday, Tsipras said: “The bailout funds have never reached the Greek people.
“Those funds have gone to banks, and have not funded an economic recovery. We need sustainable development and growth.”
The premier insisted that the proposals given by the Greek side were adequate to resolve the crisis.
“Our reform proposals are credible and will share the burden with European taxpayers,” he said.
About the Greek proposals, he said it included adequate coverage of the country’s financial needs; a strong investment program, primarily for combating unemployment and encouraging entrepreneurship; and a commitment to begin a sincere discussion regarding a solution to the problem of sustainability of Greece’s public debt.
Tsipras hoped that a deal with the international creditors would come through despite last Sunday’s referendum in Greece that saw more than 61 percent of Greeks backing the Syriza coalition’s call to reject the latest bailout plan proposed by the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
“The majority of Greek people feel that there is no other choice but to stop treading this road to nowhere,” he said.
However, he added that the Greek people’s “brave choice in conditions of unprecedented pressure” did not necessarily mean a break with Europe.
“We do not want to clash with Europe, but we want to change the mindset that has taken us and the eurozone down,” the Greek leader added.
He also said that it was time to admit that the austerity experiment in Greece had failed. “My country was used to experiment with austerity. The experiment, we must admit, failed…. I take full responsibility for what has happened over last five months, but our problems have evolved over the last five years,” he said.
He also clarified that he was not putting the entire blame of Greece’s current problems on foreign interests. “I’m not one of those politicians who claim that foreigners are to blame for all of Greece’s woes…Previous governments created ‘clientelistic state’, furthered corruption and strengthened ties to economic elite,” he added.
He also vowed that Athens would once again present new proposals on Thursday. “Tomorrow, we are going to come up with some very specific proposals,” he said.
In the end, he urged all sides to come together for a solution. “Now, must reach a viable and honest compromise, one that will avoid a historical break and goes against EU tradition,” he said.
In his remarks to the parliament, European Council President Donald Tusk said that Greece’s “last chance” to make a deal had now begun.
“Seek help among your friends, not your enemies – especially when they are unable to help you. And if you want to help your friend in need, do not humiliate him,” Tusk said.
He called for unity otherwise “we will wake up in four days in a different Europe. This is really and truly the final wake up call for Greece”.
He also noted that the Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem had received a new European Stability Mechanism request.
“I hope this is a good sign for tomorrow,” he said.
The European Stability Mechanism is an European Union agency that provides support funds to member states in crisis.
Tusk warned that the failure to find agreement might lead to bankruptcy of Greece and the insolvency of its banking system. “And for sure it will be most painful for the Greek people. I have no doubt that this will affect Europe, also in the geopolitical sense; if someone has any illusion that it will not, they are naive,” he said.
EU leaders have warned the Greek government that a failure to reach an agreement with international creditors by next Sunday (July 13) would mean an end to all bailout negotiations. This means that Greek banks, which are nearly out of funds, would receive no further aid from the European Central Bank, and thus the country would be effectively forced out of the euro system.
Since 2010, the EU and the IMF have allocated around €240 billion ($265 billion) in bailout loans to Greece.
A €245 billion ($270.5 billion) bailout program under the European Financial Stability Facility ended late last month. Greece is due to make a €3.5 billion ($3.86 billion) payment to the European Central Bank on July 20.
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