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Greek PM announces end to bailouts, austerity

(Xinhua)    07:18, August 22, 2018

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras gives a televised address in Ithaki Island, Greece, on Aug. 21, 2018. Years of international financial bailouts and national austerity measures are now a thing of the past for Greece, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Tuesday in a televised address. (Xinhua/Andrea Bonetti)

ATHENS, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- Years of international financial bailouts and national austerity measures are now a thing of the past for Greece, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Tuesday in a televised address.

He said "a historic day has dawned for Greece" after the country's exit from the painful bailout programs introduced in 2010 to avert its sovereign debt default, according to Greek state broadcaster ERT.

As the prime minister was visiting Ithaca island in western Greece, which is the home of Odysseus, the legendary hero in Homer's epic poem "Odyssey," he said Greece's modern "Odyssey" is over and the Greek people can begin to rebuild their home.

At the legendary location, Tsipras officially declared an end to austerity, recession and social hardships by saying, "Our country has regained its right to determine its own fate and future, like a normal European country."

In the ancient Greek epic, the king of Ithaca, Odysseus, returned home from the Trojan War after a perilous journey home fraught with adventures.

Debt-laden Greece on Monday formally exited from its third and final bailout.

"Greece has experienced a modern Odyssey since 2010 ... We struggled against many waves until we reached our destination today ... Today is a day of relief and also the beginning of a new era," Tsipras said.

Greeks will not forget the reasons that plunged Greece into a crisis, such as corruption and widespread tax evasion, he said.

"From today we move forward with vision and determination for our country's new era. (We go ahead) with prudence and responsibility so that we will never go back to the Greece of deficits and bankruptcy," Tsipras said.

"(We proceed) with boldness to Greece's rebirth and to create a country of equality, democracy and social justice, because Ithaca is only the beginning," he said.

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