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EU warns defiant Greek PM

Monday, February 09, 2015 - 02:03

Leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has laid out plans to dismantle Greece's ''cruel'' austerity programme, ruling out any extension of its international bailout. But as Sonia Legg reports, he is on a collision course with his European partners. Sonia Legg reports.

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It was his first major speech to parliament since becoming Prime Minister and Alexis Tsipras's message was the same as before the election. Greece will roll back on austerity and won't accept an extension to the current bailout. (SOUNDBITE)(Greek) GREEK PRIME MINISTER, ALEXIS TSIPRAS, SAYING: "We are fully aware that this negotiation won't be easy. That the road that lies ahead is an uphill one. But we fully trust our power and we will succeed because right is on our side." Many Greeks are delighted to have a government on their side despite the deepening crisis across the euro zone (SOUNDBITE)(Greek) ATHENS RESIDENT MANOLIS MOUSOURIS, AGED 35, SAYING: "We want people abroad to be aware of our problems and I believe this man showed that in the most pure and honest way possible." (SOUNDBITE)(Greek) ATHENS RESIDENT ELISABETH, AGED 65, SAYING: "I believe in him, I do, I just hope we don't go bankrupt." That's becoming more likely by the day. Even Alan Greenspan, a former head of the U.S. central bank, reportedly thinks a so-called Grexit is inevitable. Certainly both sides seem entrenched despite a week of lobbying by Greece's finance minister. EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (SOUNDBITE) (German) EU COMMISSION PRESIDENT, JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER, SAYING: "Greece should not assume that sentiment in Europe has changed so much that the euro zone will adopt Tsipras' plans in their entirety." Greece wants to swap debt for bonds linked to economic growth. Some economists do see value in a new approach. But James Bevan from CCLA says ultimately Tsipras will have to compromise (SOUNDBITE) (English) CCLA, CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, JAMES BEVAN, SAYING: "I suspect that Greece will have to agree that there will be some structural reforms at which point realistically Germany can lead a review of the preferred way forward. But we do have to see reforms being promised and they have to be substantial for Germany to be prepared to budge." A run on Greek banks and a sell-off of Greek government bonds is also thought to be close. The stakes will certainly be high when Tsipras' attends his first euro zone meeting on Thursday.

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EU warns defiant Greek PM

Monday, February 09, 2015 - 02:03