Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras hailed Greece’s exit from its bailout program on Tuesday in a televised address from the island of Ithaca.
“Today a new day is dawning in our country, a historic day. The bailouts of recession, austerity, recession and social desertification are finally over,” Tsipras said.
“Ithaca is only the beginning,” he added. “We will never forget the causes and the faces that led the country to the memorandums,” he said, warning that “new battles lie ahead.”
Tsipras said that the modern “Odyssey” that Greece went through since 2010 has come to an end, that “the era of bailouts has finally ended” and “our country regains its right to define its future.”
The Greek prmier’s choice of Ithaca had a symbolic meaning. It is the very island where Odysseus returned home from the Trojan war after the 10-year voyage recounted by Greek classical poet Homer.
“Ithaca will once again be identified with the end of a modern-day Odyssey (that was) very difficult for the Greek people,” he said after arriving on the island.
Commentators say that the end of the bailout era does not signify the end of the Greek crisis. Odyssey not over for Greece’s Tsipras, says a report in Reuters.
After first railing against euro zone post-crisis austerity policies, the left-winger finally agreed to pursue Brussels-ordained reforms and deficit-cutting that have shrunk the domestic economy and sent his popularity ratings spiralling down.
This summer has been a painful one, with his shaky coalition further weakened in June by a lawmaker’s resignation and himself under attack for his handling of deadly forest fires. His gamble to settle a decades-old name dispute with neighbouring Macedonia was a brave move but it also angered many Greek voters.
Tsipras, like his country, is far from home and dry, says Reuters.