August 21, 2018 - 18:41 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras hailed the end of a “modern-day Odyssey” on Tuesday, August 21 after Greece emerged from nine years of bailouts, saying it should never forget the harsh lessons learned under tight financial supervision by its creditors, Reuters reports.
“This is a day of liberation,” Tsipras declared, standing on a hilltop overlooking a bay on the Ionian island of Ithaca.
His decision to give a post-bailout speech on the island was laden with classical symbolism: in Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey, Odysseus, the King of Ithaca, returned home from the Trojan war after a 10-year voyage lost at sea.
Looking somber, Tsipras said: “We will not commit the affront of ignoring the lessons of the bailout on Greece. We will not let oblivion mislead us.”
He added: “We will never forget the cause, or the people who led our country into bailouts.”
Greece’s third bailout deal ended on Monday. The country’s international creditors had bankrolled the country in return for tough reforms and austerity monitored by their inspectors since 2010.
Athens, which will now rely on markets to refinance its debt, has been considering bond issues to re-establish itself as a regular borrower. However, with debt markets jittery over Italy and Turkey, that plan is on the back burner. A bond issue now could prove too expensive.
With an accumulated cash cushion of about 24 billion euros, Greece can wait for calmer days; this is enough to cover about two years of its borrowing needs.
Tsipras, a leftist elected in 2015 promising to tear up the bailouts, was forced instead to accept a loan package that August to stave off bankruptcy and the prospect of the country being ejected from the euro zone.
It was the nation’s third since 2010, and the country has altogether received 288 billion euros ($330 billion) from creditors, making it the biggest bailout in history.