Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras returned from late night talks in Brussels with senior EU officials on Thursday saying “a deal was in sight.” However, upon his return, he was welcomed by angry Lawmakers from Greece's ruling Syriza party over a package of reforms proposed by creditors in return for cash.
The increasingly negative backlash against the ruling Syriza party is a growing concern in Greece, as rising tensions within the leftist party could push forward early the Greek PM to declare an early election in order to overcome divisions and reach terms for the lagging deal.
Partial details of the reform package proposed to Tsipras by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker during late night talks in Brussels have been revealed.
The proposal, described as "murderous" by one senior party official, demands further pension cuts and tax hikes.
"[Juncker] took on the dirty work and conveyed the most vulgar, most murderous, toughest plan when everyone hoped that the deal was closing," Alexis Mitropoulos, a deputy parliament speaker and senior official within Syriza told Mega TV. "And that at a time when we were finally moving towards an agreement we all want because we rule out a rift leading to tragedy."
It also sparked fury in the Greek media with Syriza’s party newspaper carried the headline in its Thursday edition: "A continuation of austerity? No, thanks!", while the top-selling daily Ta Nea’s title read: "Death toll required for an agreement."
Prime Minister Tsipras travelled to Brussels on Wednesday in order to compare his country's debt-relief plan with one drafted by Greece's creditors.
Although the European Commission stated that "progress was made in understanding each other's positions," Tsipras still shows no intention of bowing down to the benefit cuts and tax rises Greece’s international lenders expect.
“The realistic proposals on the table are the proposals of the Greek government,” Tsipras told reporters early Thursday in the Belgian capital. “We can’t “make the same mistakes, the mistakes of the past,” he added.
Tsipras, struggling to meet the demands of both his party and creditors, needs to seal a deal in order to unlock remaining flow of funds into the Greek state coffers before cash runs out.
Despite speculations and a tight liquidity squeeze, the Tsipras assured to Greece’s lenders in Brussels that "We have already paid 7.5 billion, so we will continue."