Last Update: 12:25
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras appeared confident on Thursday that he could win a dispute with European creditors who froze a package of debt relief measures.
Last week Tsipras announced that he will distribute 617 million euros to low-income pensioners as a Christmas bonus and bring back reduced VAT for Aegean Sea islands. His move, without the approval of Greece’s creditors who are in the process of evaluating the country’s bailout program, forced the European Stability Mechanism to suspend debt relief measures that were decided by euro zone finance ministers on December 5.
However, the Greek prime minister appeared confident that European creditors will unblock the measures. In a press conference after the European Union summit in Brussels, he said, “I, as you can see, am extremely calm, and think it is something that will be overcome very soon. The (Christmas bonus) does not in any way threaten the bailout program and the targets for the 2016 budget surplus.”
Tsipras criticized Germany indirectly for being the only European country that questioned the Christmas bonus. “It is unacceptable for some to try to revive a negotiating game to the detriment of Greece and its people, which has made huge sacrifices in the name of Europe,” he said. “This is not reasonable.”
Tsipras also accused the International Monetary Fund of insisting that Greece should adopt new austerity measures after the end of the program in 2018.
“No democratic parliament … could accept such a demand and decide on measures to be implemented, if needed, after three years,” Tsipras noted.