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Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras: Europe does not belong to Mr. Schauble

Greek Prime Minister Alexis TsiprasGreek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, in an interview on Greek public television late on Tuesday, called the bailout agreement with creditors “a bad deal, but one we are obliged to accept.”

“The alternative would have been a disorderly bankruptcy,” he explained. “The result of the summit meeting and the Eurogroup is the result of pressure being put on a country to accede to the wishes of the more powerful countries of Europe,” he complained.

“I am fully assuming my responsibilities, for mistakes and for oversights, and for the responsibility of signing a text that I do not believe in, but that I am obliged to implement,” Tsipras said.

He pointed out that the spending cuts that his government must implement are not as harsh as was originally planned.

“We got an agreement which includes harsh reforms, but it does not include the complete dead end of the ultimatum we were presented with in July,” Tsipras said.

“Our creditors are not only forced to provide us with fresh funds, but to give €82 billion ($90.3 billion), and to accept restructuring our debt,” Tsipras said.

Tsipras came out strongly against German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble, who had elaborated a plan to take Greece out of the euro system for five years. “But he did not succeed,” he said. Europe doesn’t belong to Mr. Schauble,” Tsipras insisted.

Tsipras ruled out early elections in Greece, saying he intended to serve a full four-year term. “The worst thing a captain can do while he is steering a ship during a storm, as difficult as it is, is to abandon the helm,” he said.

Greek banks have been closed for nearly two weeks, since capital controls were imposed. Tsipras said banks could reopen when the bailout agreement is ratified.

The Greek parliament must vote to ratify key measures of economic reform in the bailout agreement on Wednesday. The bailout provides €82 billion ($90.3 billion) in funds over three years, but imposes spending cuts, tax increases, pension reform, and labor market reform, as well as the creation of a €50 billion ($55 billion) fund from the privatization of Greek state assets ( Magda Panoutsopoulou / Anadolu Agency)

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