Tsipras tells cabinet 2018 to be ‘landmark year’

Tsipras tells cabinet 2018 to be ‘landmark year’

In the first cabinet meeting of the year, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said 2018 would be a "landmark year," citing signs that the Greek economy is improving and a scheduled exit from the country's third international bailout in August.

Tsipras defended his government's economic reforms, indicating that previous bailouts comprised more austerity.

"We accepted a program that cannot be compared with previous ones," he said, noting that previous programs "plunged the Greek economy into recession and many social groups into poverty."

As regards his government's negotiations with creditors, he conceded that "we did not achieve as much as we wanted."

"The third review is closing without an additional euro in new fiscal measures," he claimed.

Adding that Greek bonds were performing significantly better and that market access was again within grasp, Tsipras looked forward to Greece's exit from the bailout and international supervision in due course.

Returning to the markets this year remains an "important target," he said. 

He added that his leftist-led coalition would do everything possible to lighten the load on those hardest hit by austerity.

Referring to the latest United Nations-buffered bid to resolve a longstanding dispute between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia over the latter's name, Tsipras said that 2018 would be "full of challenges and significant opportunities for foreign policy too."

"We have a window for a solution, to the extent that the shift of our neighbors proves to be honest," he said.

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