Europe

Greece debt crisis: Greek PM defends 'harsh' deal

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionAlexis Tsipras says he has accepted "harsh measures" but they will allow for "milder fiscal adjustment"

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras says he does not believe in a bailout offered by eurozone leaders - but is willing to implement it.

Mr Tsipras described the deal as "harsh", but said it was the only way for Greece to remain in the euro.

The conditional plan depends on austerity measures being passed through parliament, where Mr Tsipras faces resistance among his own MPs.

Despite the growing dissent at home he said he has no plans to resign.

Defending the deal in an interview on state television, he said: "I assume responsibility for all mistakes I may have made, I assume responsibility for a text I do not believe in, but which I signed to avoid disaster for the country, the collapse of the banks."

He said he had battled not to cut wages and pensions, arguing the terms agreed were milder than those in previous deals.


More on this story:

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionGreek reforms - in 60 seconds

Bailout deal at a glance

Europe's media stress drama of Greek deal

Tough test for Tsipras

France buoyed by Brussels agreement


But he also attacked Greece's creditors, saying "they wanted to take revenge".

Meanwhile Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who chairs the Eurogroup of finance ministers from euro countries - a key figure in the weekend's fraught negotiations - said he was "angry" at Mr Tsipras for urging Greek votes to reject a similar package of austerity measures in a referendum.

"You can't promise things that you can't bring about," he told Dutch television.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionMark Lobel examines the steps ahead if Greece is to secure a fresh bailout

Mr Tsipras said the referendum had helped secure a better, more long-term deal.

His interview comes on the eve of the vote in Greece's parliament. The measures, including pensions and VAT reforms, must be passed by Wednesday.

A number of Syriza MPs are likely to rebel and the junior coalition party, the Independent Greeks, have offered only limited support.


Analysis: Mark Lowen, BBC News, Athens

Alexis Tsipras had one over-arching theme in this interview - that Greece was backed into a corner in these bailout talks, left with no other option than to sign what he called an agreement he didn't believe in but would avoid disaster.

The prime minister called it a "bad night" for Europe, adding that Greece was suffering post-traumatic stress.

The interview will remind the public of the pressure he was under but won't stop dissent in his party.

The legislation is likely to pass because of opposition support, though Mr Tsipras will almost certainly reshuffle his cabinet soon after to bring in people committed to the cuts.


Greece also faces an immediate cash-crisis. Banks have been shut since 29 June, and the International Monetary Fund says the country has missed another debt repayment, to go further into arrears.

Mr Tsipras warned banks are unlikely to reopen until the deal, which includes up to €86bn (£61bn) of financing, is ratified, and this could take another month.

A suggestion of providing Greece with emergency funding under the EU-wide European Financial Stability Mechanism has been opposed by Britain, which is not part of the euro but is an European Union member.