Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras expressed confidence that Greece’s creditors will grant debt relief and blamed their intractability for worsening the country’s economic plight.
“The Greek people were prisoners, who after they escaped prison were immediately arrested and returned to an even smaller cell,” Tsipras, who turned 41 on Tuesday, told an Athens radio station. “What’s crucial is that we got a commitment for debt relief, which will take place after the first review of the program, in November.”
Easing Greece’s debt burden has been a major sticking point in six months of talks between the government and its creditors, which led the country to the brink of euro exit. While the International Monetary Fund expressly supports debt restructuring as part of the rescue package, European donors led by Germany have been less willing.
Tsipras said the eleventh-hour accord reached on July 12 fully covers financing needs for the next three years and so paves the way for debt relief. Officials from Greece and its creditor institutions are meeting in Athens this week on policies that must be implemented in return for loans of as much as 86 billion euros ($94 billion).