Greece does not need new bailout loans, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in an interview in German magazine “Stern” to be published on Thursday, and said he looked forward to a win-win situation in talks with the country’s creditors and Monday’s Eurogroup meeting.
The magazine followed Tsipras for two days in the Greek Parliament and at his office in the Maximos Mansion for a feature story ahead of Monday’s Eurogroup meeting, and quoted him as saying he is open to dialogue and optimistic. “I support a solution where everyone wins, a win-win solution,” he is quoted as saying, “I want to save Greece from a tragedy and protect Europe from being split apart.”
Tsipras told journalists Andreas Albes, Ferry Batzoglou and Andreas Petzold, “We do not need new bailout loans.” Following the cabinet meeting that began on Friday and ended in the early morning hours on Saturday, Tsipras told the three journalists that “instead of money we need time, to implement our plan for reforms; I promise you, Greece will be a different country in six months.”
Stern mentioned that the bailout programme ends at the end of February, and if an agreement is not reached with its creditors – the European Commision, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund – Greece will face an economic collapse. It mentioned among other things that the social insurance system can hardly take care of the victims of the crisis, that 1.3 million people are without a job, and hundreds of thousands do not have medical insurance.
It said that Tsipras wants to deal with the heaviest repercussions of the crisis with a programme that according to his party SYRIZA will cost 12 billion euros; the programme will depend on the willingness of EU members, especially Germany, to reach a compromise.
Asked to comment on his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Brussels, Tsipras told the interviewers, “I met a polite human being. She is not as strict as one would expect from press reports.” She is a realistic politician who does not wish to jeopardise Europe’s future, he said. Speaking of the Eurogroup where a decision is expected to be finalised on Greece’s fiscal programme, Tsipras said, “Monday’s negotiation will be difficult, but I am optimistic – our power rests on the support of the Greek people.”