Tsipras rallies ministers, tries to put pressure on opposition

Tsipras rallies ministers, tries to put pressure on opposition

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras attempted to rally his ministers on Thursday and justify the agreement his government reached with the lenders.

Tsipras used Thursday’s cabinet meeting as an opportunity to defend the deal, which he called “balanced and sustainable,” but also to make it clear that the coalition did not agree with many of the policies it will have to implement. “The lenders are not our friends,” he said in televised comments ahead of the meeting, adding that “the current agreement is part of the framework that we are trying to get ourselves out of.”

Recognizing the discomfort that many coalition MPs will feel in having to approve the measures in Parliament, Tsipras proposed that each countermeasure agreed with the lenders, mainly tax cuts and increases to social spending, should be submitted as a separate article of the multi-bill.

The prime minister seems to hope this will transfer some of the pressure that the coalition MPs will feel for approving the package of fiscal interventions onto the opposition lawmakers for not voting in favor of the countermeasures.

On Wednesday night, New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis proposed that the government should return 0.5 percent of GDP from the excess primary surplus in 2016 to taxpayers straight away.

He proposed four measures, including a reduction to the ENFIA property tax and providing nursery places for all children.
The multi-bill is due to be tabled in the House next week and the vote on the measures is expected to take place on May 16 or 17, once Tsipras has returned from China.

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