Defiant Greek PM sets up EU clash with bailout rejection, austerity rollback

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Greek PM Tsipras makes a sign to a colleague as he sits for the first time in the Prime Minister's seat in the parliament in Athens

BY LEFTERIS PAPADIMAS AND RENEE MALTEZOU

Leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras laid out plans on Sunday to dismantle Greece’s “cruel” austerity program, ruling out any extension of its international bailout and setting himself on a collision course with his European partners.

In his first major speech to parliament since storming to power last month, Tsipras rattled off a list of moves to reverse reforms imposed by European and International Monetary Fund lenders: from reinstating pension bonuses and cancelling a property tax to ending mass layoffs and raising the mininum wage back to pre-crisis levels.

Showing little intent to heed warnings from EU partners to stick to commitments in the 240-billion-euro ($272 billion) bailout, Tsipras said he intended to fully respect campaign pledges to heal the “wounds” of the austerity that was a condition of the money.

Greece would achieve balanced budgets but would no longer produce unrealistic primary budget surpluses, he said, a reference to requirements to be in the black excluding debt repayments.

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