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Tsipras seeks deal to avoid Grexit

By Agencies in Strasbourg, France | China Daily | Updated: 2015-07-09 07:50

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras pleaded in the European Parliament on Wednesday for a fair deal to keep his country in the eurozone, acknowledging Greece's own responsibility for its plight, after EU leaders gave him five days to come up with reforms.

With its banks closed, cash withdrawals rationed and the economy in a freefall, Greece has never been closer to a total state bankruptcy that would probably force it to print an alternative currency and leave the euro.

Yet the leftist prime minister seemed relaxed and confident, with a note of humility, when he appeared before EU lawmakers in Strasbourg to cheers and scattered boos.

The government's request is the first step in a process toward a new bailout for the debt-laden country.

Speaking hours after eurozone peers set a deadline of the end of the week for Greece to come up with convincing reform proposals, Tsipras said Greeks had no choice but to demand a way out of "this impasse".

"We are determined not to have a clash with Europe, but to tackle head on the establishment in our own country and to change the mindset which will take us and the eurozone down," he said to applause from the left.

He promised to deliver detailed reform proposals in the next 48 hours and mostly eschewed the angry rhetoric that has alienated many European partners, although he criticized attempts to "terrorize" Greeks into voting for "never-ending austerity".

Speaking before him, European Council President Donald Tusk repeated that the final deadline for Greece to submit convincing reform plans and start implementing them was this week.

"Our inability to find an agreement may lead to the bankruptcy of Greece and the insolvency of its banking system," Tusk said. "And for sure it will be most painful for the Greek people.

"I have no doubt that this will affect Europe, also in the geopolitical sense. If someone has any illusion that it will not, they are naive," he said.

Some EU lawmakers held up "Oxi" (No) signs to back Greek voters' rejection of more austerity.

Greece will submit a formal application for a medium-term loan program from the European Stability Mechanism bailout fund on Wednesday, along with a first reform program, to be detailed on Thursday.

Reuters - AP

 Tsipras seeks deal to avoid Grexit

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras addresses the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, on Wednesday. Vincent Kessler / Reuters

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