Tsipras tells Bloomberg TV he will stick to financial commitments

27 June 2018
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Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras vowed to stick with the financial commitments he agreed with European leaders this month and said there would be no return to the spending habits that ultimately triggered one of the biggest financial meltdowns in the continent’s history.

Speaking in an interview less than a week after Greece struck a deal with the euro region to exit its rescue program, Tsipras said his government would meet budget targets, but it’s now up to Greece rather than international creditors to say how it will do so.

“The important thing about the end of this program is that the Greek government commits to these goals and now the responsibility comes to the Greeks, ourselves, or any elected government,” Tsipras, 43, said at Bloomberg’s European headquarters in London. “I will do whatever I can for Greece not to go back to that tragic period.”

There’s been a remarkable turnaround for Greece, and indeed Tsipras. Three years ago, he was playing chicken with European leaders over the conditions of the Greek bailout. He capitulated, but not before Greece stood on the brink of exiting the currency union. Now he’s on a three-day trip to London to court investors as the country eases its way back into financial markets.

Greek 10-year bonds yield 4.1 percent, half of what they did when Tsipras was first elected in January 2015 and compared with 19 percent in July that year as his government locked horns with euro-area finance ministers over debt relief and further budget cuts.

“I’m very optimistic that the international investment community will respond positively,” said Tsipras, who also met with British counterpart Theresa May to discuss the European response to migrants and the prospects of a political settlement on the divided island of Cyprus.

But winning friends abroad has proved easier than keeping them at home for Tsipras. While bond investors have lauded Greece’s renewed stability, his standoff with creditors snuffed out a nascent economic recovery and it took another year to get back on track.

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