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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 16-08-28

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Tsipras: 'We demand the specific measures that will make the debt sustainable'
  • [02] President urges 'globalisation of humanism and democracy,' from Florina

  • [01] Tsipras: 'We demand the specific measures that will make the debt sustainable'

    In a message to Greece's creditors via a newspaper interview published on Sunday, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said that Greece demands and expects that they take steps to make the country's debt sustainable, with lower primary surplus targets after 2018.

    "We don't simply ask but demand and expect...the specific measures that will make the debt sustainable. This will obviously have as a consequence the reduction of surpluses after 2018, a fact that essentially opens the way for the recovery of the economy," he told the Sunday edition of "Real News".

    According to Tsipras, Greece upheld its own end of the agreement and now expected its partners to do the same.

    The prime minister noted that the most important thing for Greece was an end to uncertainty and he had therefore asked all sides to make their intentions clear as soon as possible.

    "In every case, what we insist on is that the agreement is an agreement that must be implemented by all sides, whether they have elections next year in their country or not," he underlined.

    Tsipras said that Europe had made a commitment in the direction of debt relief for Greece, both with the agreement of last June and the Eurogroup decision of May 25. This was expected to be made specific by the end of this year, he added, at which time the International Monetary Fund will also decide whether to participate in the Greek programme or not.

    Asked when Greece might return to borrowing from the markets, the prime minister said that a crucial milestone will be Greece's inclusion in the European Central Bank quantitative easing programme. "This will happen in the coming months. Then the country can return to the markets," he said.

    Discussing European affairs, Tsipras compared the EU to a sleepwalker heading toward a cliff, adding that Brexit would either awaken Europe's leadership or mark "the beginning of the end of the EU." He noted that Berlin was still producing excessive surpluses through "frozen" wages and low inflation, while the deficit-running South was breaking all records for unemployment and low growth.

    "If this continues, we will see some very unpleasant results in the next elections and referendums. If the Schaeuble dogma of a "multiple-speed" Europe with special economic zones of low-cost, devalued labour is not abandoned, Europe will find itself on the verge of disintegration," he said.

    The countries of the south had to now work with other countries on Europe's periphery and talk about the need for social convergence and cohesion, with emergencies measures for the transfer of resources toward the periphery to lower unemployment and return to growth, he added.

    Regarding other issues, Tsipras made it clear that Greece was not waiving its claims for WWII reparations from Germany, noting that a road map will be drawn up for concluding this matter with the desired outcome.

    Commenting on developments in Turkey and the refugee issue, the prime minister said that a normalisation in Turkey would benefit all sides and pointed out that Greece had condemned the attempted coup "as a matter of principle". Relations with Turkey had not been disrupted and the EU-Turkey agreement on the refugee issue continued to be applied, he added.

    Asked if the government had an alternative plan of action if the agreement did collapse, Tsipras said that the government's effort - "before any other thought" - was to first strive to prevent the agreement breaking down.

    "All sides must work so that it continues to work and this is something that concerns Turkey as much as the EU. I do not see anyone who has an interest in stopping the implementation of the agreement," he concluded.

    [02] President urges 'globalisation of humanism and democracy,' from Florina

    The only globalisation that had any real meaning in our times was not economic but a globalisation of humanism and democracy, President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos said on Sunday. Addressing a seminar on the refugee crisis held in Florina, he said this could be interpreted in two ways but also had dual lessons for Greeks regarding their response to the refugee problem.

    "I say we Greeks teach and will always teach because we have proved that there is no obstacle, in spite of the crisis, to doing our duty based on our ancient heritage. We must never forget that the concept of the refugee originates in ancient Greece. He is the supplicant. Only Greek culture has succeeded in creating such an institution...When today, during the crisis, we treat them as we Greeks treat them, we are doing nothing other than demonstrating the continuity of our people, our nation, through our ancient heritage and present actions," he said.

    Another way of looking at the issue concerned the European family to which Greece belongs, Pavlopoulos added.

    "We contribute through our example, so that our partners acquire the same outlook. Because if this phobic mindset prevails, which many times borders on racism, we see from that point the very foundation of Europe stricken, the very foundation of the European edifice, the centre of gravity of the EU. Since its creation, that centre of gravity has been people. And it was shown that the biggest crisis that Europe faced was presented not through economic crises but through the refugee problem," he said.

    Greece's example would help Europe find its way again and protect its unification, the president added, warning the opposite case carried great dangers for the EU.

    During the seminar, the president presented a prize to Pulitzer-Award-winning photojournalist Yannis Behrakis for the photographs taken by his team of refugees being rescued in the Aegean.

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