(Updates with comments, background)
ATHENS, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras tore into his European Union allies on Thursday, pledging to “put an end once and for all” to the EU’s austerity policies.
In a defiant first speech to his left-wing parliamentary group after returning empty-handed from a European tour, Tsipras said Athens was no longer open to being told what to do.
“Greece won’t take orders any more, especially orders through emails,” he said. “Greece is no longer the miserable partner who listens to lectures to do its homework. Greece has its own voice”.
In an apparent reference to the tough stance taken by the European Central Bank and others, Tspiras said: “Greece cannot blackmailed because democracy in Europe cannot be blackmailed.”
Tsipras and his finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, have been crisscrossing Europe to win support from partners for their plan to win debt relief and end austerity policies but have so far received little other than warnings to avoid reneging on commitments under the country’s existing bailout programme.
But they have received little if any concrete support.
“We did not even agree to disagree”, Varoufakis said on Thursday after a meeting with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, actually contradicting his host.
Tsipras, however, said he did not return from the trip without anything to show for it.
“In only a week we won allies that we haven’t won in the last five years of the crisis,” he said. (Reporting by George Georgiopoulos and Angeliki Koutantou, Writing by Jeremy Gaunt)