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Tsipras Vows Help for Neediest Greeks

  • VOA News

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras delivers his first major speech in parliament in Athens, Feb. 8, 2015.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras delivers his first major speech in parliament in Athens, Feb. 8, 2015.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras vowed Sunday that his government will help the country's neediest people affected by austerity measures imposed by Athens' international lenders.

In a speech to parliament, the newly elected premier said his ruling Syriza party will live up to its election campaign promises, giving free food and electricity to those who need it. Tsipras also said he will re-open the country's public television station, which was closed by an earlier Greek government to save money as it negotiated $300 billion in bailouts.

In addition, Tsipras announced cuts for government officials, banning cars for his Cabinet ministers and selling one of the aircraft available for his use.

Tsipras and Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis visited several European capitals this past week, asking key financial officials for a bridge loan until May, to keep the country solvent while it tries to negotiate new terms for the bailouts. But European officials have insisted that Greece honor the terms of its loans and have shown little interest in cutting Greece's debt.

Tsipras said Greece, with the latest segment of its bailout expiring at the end of February, wants to repay its debts, but needs to renegotiate the restrictions placed on the country.

Some analysts say that Greece, with high unemployment and a weak economy, eventually will be forced to leave Europe's 19-nation euro currency bloc. Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the U.S. central bank, told the BBC Sunday he does not think Greece's economic plight will be resolved without it leaving the eurozone.

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