Greece

Greek prime minister and leader of Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Alexis Tsipras, released the statement below on April 20, which is abridged from .

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The latest humanitarian tragedy, with hundreds of casualties off the coast of Lampedusa, fills us with sadness and worry. None of us can remain impassive when hundreds of souls are lost in the Mediterranean, in their effort to escape war and poverty.

“A high-ranking official close to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said the Greek government is not planning to give in to its creditors’ pressures and go against the program they had promised to the Greek people who brought them to power,” GreekReporter.com said on April 16. The comment came amid rising tensions between Greece's SYRIZA-led anti-austerity government and its creditors — the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The Greek government said on April 17 that it was releasing detainees in its neglected immigration centers.

“The people that were there, were living an indescribable barbarity,” said Greek immigration minister Tasia Christodoulopoulou. According to Christodoulopoulou, many of the detainees were illegally being held indefinitely.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on April 2 that his government would strengthen the country's public health system by the hiring of 4500 extra staff and abolishing a compulsory €5 fee for treatment at public hospitals, TeleSUR English said that day.

The measure forms part of a broad package of reforms aimed at overhauling the country’s broken medical system by providing universal access to quality healthcare.

The Greek parliament has debated a proposal to establish a committee to investigate loan agreements between previous governments and international lenders, TeleSUR English reported on March 31.

The motion, tabled by ruling anti-austerity party SYRIZA, would examine credit accords dating back to 2009 with organisations including the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the European Central Bank.

There is a tense stand-off right now between Greece's government and the so-called troika — the European Commission, the European Central Bank (ECB), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). ECB President Mario Draghi recently went so far as to deny that his institution was trying to blackmail Greece's left-wing anti-austerity government.

But blackmail is actually an understatement. It has become increasingly clear that the troika is trying to harm the Greek economy in order to raise pressure on the new Greek government to agree to its demands.

More than 4000 local and global groups from 120 countries took part in the 14th World Social Forum in Tunisia from March 24 to 28. The WSF was created as a popular alternative to the corporate-dominated, elite World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.

The first WSF was held in Brazil in 2001 and was organised as an alternative to the WEF, the yearly meeting of the global ultra-rich.

Greece demands Germany pay war reparations

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias has proposed creating a joint commission of Greek and German experts to address the issue of World War II reparations, TeleSUR English said on March 23.

“Athens wants to come to an agreement regarding the issue of reparations, we need to find a common denominator,” Kotzias said. The foreign minister added that he prefers a political solution to the issue, rather than a legal one.

Greece’s parliament passed what it called a “humanitarian crisis” bill on March 18 in order to help the poorest sectors of its population.

In a move opposed by representatives from the European Union, the government of left-wing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras pushed for housing allowances and emergency food aid to people in need.

The parliamentary speaker in Greece's Chamber of Deputies Zoe Constantopoulou announced on March 17 the formation of a committee to audit the country’s public debt, Ekathimerini.com said that day.

Greek Member of the European Parliament Sofia Sakorafa and Belgian political scientist, public debt expert and spokesperson for the Committee to Abolish Third World Debt (CADTM) Eric Toussaint will be on the new committee.

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