Tsipras vows to save crippled Greek economy after victory

Alexis Tsipras promises to solve economic turmoil of Greece after returning to power as new prime minister

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Alexis Tsipras takes oath of office as the new prime minister at the presidential palace in Athens, September 21, 2015.

Alexis Tsipras was sworn in as Greek Prime Minister for a second term on Monday, after gaining clear victory in the elections. However, a set of challenges already awaits Tsipras as Greece continues to deal with austerity measures and rising influx of refugees entering its shores.

The leftist leader returned to power after he resigned in August, following the bailout crisis which split his ruling party and led to Sunday’s snap election, in which he won the mandate for a full four-year term.

The victory of Tsipras and his Syriza party came unexpectedly, as he had lost popularity amoungst his party and the public, when he scrapped his anti-austerity stance and accepted further austerity. The move was made to secure a new bailout deal and avert an exit from the Eurozone.

After taking the oath of office in Athens, leader of the left-wing Syriza party, expressed his commitment to find a solution to the growing refugee crisis and solve the country’s 5-year-long economic crisis.

"Europe...must share out responsibility among all member states," said Tsipras."Otherwise there is no point in talking about a united Europe... if everyone looks to one's own yard when we have a common home, things will be ominous."

Tsipras who called out to Europe for further support over the growing dilemma of refugees, will disclose a new coalition cabinet on Tuesday, to carry out economic reforms. While his allies in the former cabinet will be sworn in by Wednesday morning.

Former Greek Finance Minister, Euclid Tsakalotos who pushed for the acceptance of austerity, to allow access to the much needed emergency funds is expected to be reappointed to the same position, said a Syriza source said on Monday. This however, is not certain.

Greece has witnessed a surge in refugees entering its shores, as it is used as a main route by refugees, majority of them escaping the war in Syria, but also from other countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq, who seek to enter Europe to re-build a brighter future.

This however, not only adds to the struggles of debt stricken Greece, but also refugees who are taking desperate measures to flee war and poverty.

On a daily basis an estimate of 4,000 refugees are reaching the Greek islands from Turkey, but shelters only have the capacity to assist about  2,000 people.

This situation leaves refugee families no choice but to sleep outside, deprived from basic hygiene, food and transport needs.

Greece has previously asked the European Union (EU) for further assistance and stressed that it lacks the capacity to enforce EU rules.

Greece, along with Italy and Hungary will receive assistance from the EU for a resettling plan of 160,000 refugees. Although the plan is supported by Germany and Brussels, eastern European countries have opposed it.

Tsipras will attend an emergency summit with European leaders on Wednesday to discuss the humanitarian crisis.

Next month Greece is expected to undergo the first review of its 86 billion euro bailout program.

The European Commission congratulated Tsipras on his party's re-election, but noted that Greece had "no time to lose" in implementing the reforms agreed as part of its bailout deal.

Tsipras, eager to help his struggling country described debt relief from creditors as his "first crucial battle", according to an official.

A Syriza party official noted that their main goal would be to stabilize banks. Attempts to improve the country’s economy will follow after that.

In order for improvements to be seen in the Greek economy, it must present a fiscal strategy for 2016-2019, to achieve a budget surplus of 3.5 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP), before making an interest payment.

Greece’s current debt stands at 180 percent of its GDP, which is considered to be the highest in the European Union.

TRTWorld and agencies