Greece readies reform promises

Sun Feb 22, 2015 10:43am EST
 
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By George Georgiopoulos

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's government prepared reform measures on Sunday to secure a financial lifeline from the euro zone, but was attacked for selling "illusions" to voters after failing to keep a promise to extract the country from its international bailout.

Leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has insisted Greece achieved a negotiating success when euro zone finance ministers agreed to extend the bailout deal for four months, provided it came up with a list of reforms by Monday.

Greeks reacted with relief that Friday's deal averted a banking crisis which fellow euro zone member Ireland said could have erupted in the coming week. This means Tsipras has stood by one promise at least: to keep the country in the euro zone.

Tsipras maintains he has the nation behind him despite staging a climbdown in Brussels. Under the deal, Greece will still live under the EU/IMF bailout which he had pledged to scrap, and must negotiate a new program by the early summer.

"I want to say a heartfelt thanks to the majority of Greeks who stood by the Greek government ... That was our most powerful negotiating weapon," he said on Saturday. "Greece achieved an important negotiating success in Europe.".

Top Marxist members of Tsipras's Syriza party, a broad coalition of the left, have so far been silent on the painful compromises made to win agreement from the Eurogroup.

But veteran leftist Manolis Glezos attacked the failure to fulfill campaign promises. "I apologize to the Greek people because I took part in this illusion," he wrote in a blog. "Syriza's friends and supporters ... should decide if they accept this situation."

Glezos, a Syriza member of the European Parliament, is not a party heavyweight. But he commands moral authority: as a young man under the World War Two occupation, he scaled the Acropolis to rip down a Nazi flag under the noses of German guards and hoist the Greek flag, making him a national hero.   Continued...

 
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras attends a cabinet meeting at the parliament building in Athens, February 21, 2015.  REUTERS/Kostas Tsironis