Greece Asks for New Bailout, Pledging Reforms

VOA News

Debt-wracked Greece asked its European neighbors for a new three-year bailout Wednesday, pledging to “immediately implement” tax and pension reforms.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told the European Parliament in Strasbourg that Athens would produce “new concrete proposals” by Thursday to meet the demands of European leaders who’ve grown weary of Greece’s debt crisis.

With his country’s banks near collapse and running out of cash, Tsipras said he is confident of meeting an end-of-the-week “final deadline” European leaders have given him to reach a bailout deal, and a deal that will keep his country in the euro currency union.

However, Tsipras also defended his country’s reluctance to agree to new austerity measures in exchange for more financial aid, saying five years of austerity imposed on it by the country’s international lenders proved to be a failure.

“I think all of us have to accept that this experiment has not been a success,” he said. “Over these five years, we have seen a skyrocketing of poverty, unemployment has soared, social marginalization has increased, as has the public debt, which is now 180 percent of the GDP.”

Last-chance summit

Leaders from the 28-member EU called a new summit for Sunday, telling Greece there would be a decision then on a new Greek bailout or Athens would likely exit the 19-nation euro currency bloc if no agreement could be reached.

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