Greece's Tsipras attacks creditors over 'absurd' reforms

Greece`s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Sunday attacked its creditors for insisting on what he described as absurd reforms which have only served to hold up progress in negotiations for a deal aimed at preventing his country from defaulting.

Greece`s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Sunday attacked its creditors for insisting on what he described as absurd reforms which have only served to hold up progress in negotiations for a deal aimed at preventing his country from defaulting.

"The lack of an agreement so far is not due to the supposed intransigent, uncompromising and incomprehensible Greek stance," Tsipras wrote in a column published by French newspaper Le Monde.

"It is due to the insistence of certain institutional actors on submitting absurd proposals and displaying a total indifference to the recent democratic choice of the Greek people," he added.

Greece has been locked in talks with its creditors -- the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank -- in a bid to unlock 7.2 billion euros ($7.9 billion) in bailout funds.

However, a deal has so far proved elusive as the creditors are demanding greater reforms in return for the cash, which Tsipras`s government -- elected on an anti-austerity bill -- has refused to match.

Tsipras said his government has made concessions -- including agreeing to implement a series of privatizations it had previously opposed.

It has also agreed to reform the VAT system as well as the pension system -- which would increase real retirement age.

Rather than imposing further austerity that has so far only served to drive the Greek into a deeper recession, he said his government has also submitted proposals to raise revenues.

These include a special tax on the very wealthy, greater efforts towards clamping down on tax evasion, and putting broadcasting and other licenses up for tender.

Tsipras warned that Europe is now at a crossroads, and could choose between a strategy of greater integration or one of division.

Those seeking the second strategy are simply seeking to inflict harsh punishment and mandatory austerity, with "Greece being the first victim", he said.

"To some, this represents a golden opportunity to make an example out of Greece for other countries that might be thinking of not following this new line of discipline," he wrote.

"Which strategy will prevail? The one that calls for a Europe of solidarity, equality and democracy, or the one that calls for rupture and division?

"Following the serious concessions made by the Greek government, the decision is now not in the hands of the institutions, which in any case -- with the exception of the European Commission-- are not elected and are not accountable to the people, but rather in the hands of Europe`s leaders."

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