While shares tumble and yields surge as Greek markets reel from the news that the country’s creditors have stopped the implementation short-term debt relief, the development seems to have had little impact on prime minister Alexis Tsipras.
After announcing a special VAT exemption for Aegean islanders yesterday, the Syriza leader has today announced that Greece will extend a pilot programme providing 30,000 school children free meals, due to begin in January.
He said: “This programme has been factored into the budget of 2017. It is worth around €11.5m”.
Although the scale of this new policy is small, Greece’s creditors will likely see the decision as yet another act of defiance in the face of greater austerity.
Mr Tsipras added: ““I think everyone has to respect the Greek people, who for the last seven years, have made huge sacrifices in the name of Europe.
“We have carried the weight of the refugee crisis. In the name of Europe we have, in recent years, implemented an extremely harsh policy of austerity.
“There has to be respect from all. I have, if you will, no doubt whatsoever because everything that we are doing is absolutely within the framework of the Accord which we are keeping and which our partners should keep too.”
All eurozone bonds are rallying – except Greece
With Greece’s debt crisis now back in the headlines, it seems the inevitable bond rout has started quickly.
Meanwhile the Guardian is reporting that prime minister Alexis Tsipras will propose that the IMF abstains from the bailout package currently keeping Greece afloat, after his finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos accused the IMF of economizing with the truth for denying it was attempting to push greater austerity on the country.
Syriza believe that the IMF has frequently made poor assessments in the past, and is wrong to push Greece down the road of greater tax and pensions cuts.