Greece’s prime minister Alexis Tsipras appealed to his European partners for a “viable agreement” to keep his country in the eurozone in a speech to the European Parliament on Wednesday.
Tsipras was in Strasbourg Wednesday as part of his last-ditch campaign to keep Greece in the euro.
Tsipras earned both cheers and jeers as he entered the hall, while lawmakers rushed to take photographs of him before he took his seat.
His country, he said, is seeking a deal that will mean a definitive end to Greece’s financial crisis, not just a temporary bandaid.
“The Greek people didn’t deliver a mandate for rupture; they reinforced the mandate for a lasting and just solution,” Tsipras told the European Parliament. “My country was turned into a laboratory experiment of austerity. We have to admit that the experiment failed.”
Tsipras also insisted that last Sunday’s referendum result, in which voters soundly rejected a previous proposal of more austerity, does not mean a break with Europe.
“The proposals we have made to our partners are ones that involve credible reforms with an acceptable degree of burden-sharing, which will not bring recessionary effects with it. We need to ensure the medium-term funding of our country with a development and growth program,” Tsipras told the lawmakers gathered in Strasbourg, France.
Applause rose when he said aid to Greece only helped out banks, not ordinary Greeks.
Tsipras promised to continue reforms already undertaken by his government.
“But let us not forget that in the last five years, the Greek people have made a tremendous effort for adjustment — a very difficult and hard process of adjustment. This has exhausted the patience and resilience of the Greek people.”
Alexis Tsipras complete speech (in Greek) here: