World Bulletin / News Desk
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called in a speech to the European Parliament on Wednesday for a fair deal to keep his country in the euro zone, acknowledging Greece's own responsibility for its plight, after EU leaders gave him five days to come up with convincing reforms.
The Greek government formally submitted a request for a three-year loan from the European Stability Mechanism bailout fund that would be used "to meet Greece's debt obligations and to ensure stability of the financial system".
With its banks closed, cash withdrawals rationed and the economy in freefall, Greece has never been closer to a state bankruptcy that would probably force it to print an alternative currency and leave the euro.
Yet the leftist premier seemed relaxed and confident, with a note of humility, when he appeared before EU lawmakers in Strasbourg to cheers and scattered boos.
Speaking hours after euro zone leaders, at another emergency summit in Brussels, set Greece a deadline of the end of the week to come up with far-reaching reform proposals, Tsipras said Greeks had no choice but to demand a way out of "this impasse".
"We are determined not to have a clash with Europe but to tackle head on the establishment in our own country and to change the mindset which will take us and the euro zone down," he said to applause from the left.
He promised to deliver detailed reform proposals on Thursday and mostly avoided the angry rhetoric that has alienated many European partners, although he criticised attempts to "terrorise" Greeks into voting for "never-ending austerity".
In its loan application letter, Athens promised to implement a set of tax and pension measures "as early as the beginning of next week", promising more details within 48 hours.
Speaking before him, European Council President Donald Tusk repeated that the final deadline for Greece to submit convincing reform plans and start implementing them was this week.
"Our inability to find an agreement may lead to the bankruptcy of Greece and the insolvency of its banking system," Tusk said. "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.
In the turbulent chamber, some lawmakers held up "Oxi" (No) signs to back Greek voters' rejection of more austerity, while far-right speakers praised the radical leftist government for standing up to what several called the European "oligarchy".Güncelleme Tarihi: 08 Temmuz 2015, 17:16