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Greece says no to bailout extension, but pledges to honour its debt

Greece aims to raise the minimum wage to €750 euros by 2016.

Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

NEW GREEK PRIME Minister Alexis Tsipras said Athens did not want an extension of its bailout but insisted on the need for a “bridge programme” which would buy the country time to negotiate a new deal.

“The new government is not justified in asking for an extension of the bailout. The Greek people gave us a mandate to cancel the disastrous austerity programme,” he said in a key policy speech to parliament.

“We want a new deal, a bridge programme which would give us the fiscal space that a sincere negotiation requires.”

Tsipras, speaking just days before an extraordinary meeting of eurozone ministers in Brussels, said the government would “respect eurozone rules but would “not condemn the Greek economy to an eternal recession.”

He stressed “the government’s unshakeable decision to honour all our pre-election promises,” saying it was “a matter of honour, credibility, and respect for democracy.”

In his speech, he said he would honour all electoral policies and vowed to raise the minimum wage to €750 by 2016.

He also promised to re-open ERT public television, closed in 2013 by the previous government in a bid to reduce debt in the cash-strapped country.

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Tsipras said ERT would be re-opened to “repair a crime against Greek people and democracy.”

- © AFP, 2015

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