Greece's new Prime Minister has reaffirmed his unwavering commitment to bring the country out of austerity, despite unsuccessful talks with other Eurozone member states so far.
During a parliamentary speech on Sunday, Alexis Tsipras said he felt a duty “not to disappoint” those who had voted him into power. “We realise that negotiations with foreign lenders won’t be easy, but we have faith in our struggle, because justice is on our side,” he said.
Tsipras is leader of the radical left-wing Syriza party, which was sworn into parliament last month on the back of promises to bring the country out of economic difficulty. Greek debt to creditor nations currently amounts to more than €320bn (£238bn), which is equivalent to around 174 per cent of GDP.
Greece wants to renegotiate the country's bailout agreement with the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank, but initial talks this week between Greek ministers and leaders from other member states has led to little success for Tspiras and his party.
There is now a widespread feeling that Greece may soon be forced to leave the single currency zone, yet Tsipras is as determined as ever to bring Greece out of austerity. Today he argued that Greece needed a bridge loan rather than an extension of its bailout.
"The bailout failed," he said. "The new government is not justified in asking for an extension because it cannot ask for an extension of mistakes."
Another strong message in his speech was a commitment to help the unemployed in Greece, with a humanitarian crisis resulting from years of austerity.
Tsipras described "tackling the big wounds of the bailout, tackling the humanitarian crisis,” as important tasks. This includes giving free food and electricity to those worst affected by the economic crisis.
Other changes he promised to make were cuts to bureaucratic spending and a rise in minimum wage over the next year, as well as a promise to try and win back loans given to Germany during the Second World War, when from Nazi occupiers demanded them.
“I can’t overlook what is an ethical duty, a duty to history … to lay claim to the wartime debt,” he said.