Photo: Greek PM Alexis Tsipras remains confident of striking a deal to keep Greece in the Eurozone. (Reuters: Vincent Kessler)
Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras has told the European parliament he will submit "credible" reform plans to the Eurozone on Thursday as Greece seeks a three-year loan to meet its debt obligations.
He promised Greece would start pension and tax reforms next week, as demanded by creditors, in return for the bailout and remaining in the Eurozone.
"The Greek government ... will tomorrow file new concrete proposals, credible reforms, for a fair and viable solution," Mr Tsipras told the parliament in Strasbourg.
Mr Tsipras said he was determined to fix years of bad government as well as reverse the increasing inequalities caused by five years of creditor-imposed austerity.
He also reiterated Greece's commitment to staying in the Eurozone.
"Let me assure the house that, quite apart from the crisis, we will continue with our reform undertakings," said Mr Tsipras, who was greeted with cheers from a packed chamber.
This is really and truly the final wake-up call for Greece and for us, our last chance.
EU president Donald Tusk
"We demand an agreement with our neighbours, but one which gives us a sign that we are on a long-lasting basis exiting from the crisis, which will demonstrate that there's light at the end of the tunnel.
"Our prime objective must be to combat unemployment and to encourage entrepreneurship."
Mr Tsipras was speaking after flying in from Brussels where Eurozone leaders handed him a final deadline of Sunday to agree to terms for a new bailout.
French PM praises 'balanced, positive' request
French prime minister Manuel Valls said the fresh proposals were a step in the right direction, describing the request as "balanced, positive".
He reiterated France's stance that keeping Greece in the Eurozone was a "geopolitical issue of the highest importance".
Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy also said of Greece: "The tune has changed, it's not what we were hearing until now and that's positive."
Donald Tusk, the former Polish prime minister who chairs EU summits, told the parliament: "The stark reality is that we have only four days left to find an ultimate agreement."
"Until now I've avoided talking about deadlines but I have to say it loud and clear that the final deadline ends this week.
"This is really and truly the final wake-up call for Greece and for us, our last chance," Mr Tusk said, warning that failure "may lead to the bankruptcy of Greece" and cause geopolitical problems for Europe.
Following Mr Tsipras's 12-minute speech, party leaders took the floor in turn.
In the chamber, some euro sceptics hailed Mr Tsipras's victory in a referendum by propping up cards reading "OXI" — "No" in Greek.
More than 60 per cent of Greeks voted in a referendum to reject the terms of a Eurozone bailout which would have imposed more austerity measures on an already ravaged economy.
European parliament members blast Tsipras over reform
On Wednesday, the Eurozone's bailout fund said Greece had formally submitted a request for a new aid program, just days before a final deadline on a debt deal.
"The ESM (European Stability Mechanism) has received the Greek request," a spokesman for the ESM said.
The European Central Bank has been providing emergency liquidity to keep Greek banks from collapsing, and on Wednesday decided to leave the limit on its stop-gap credit facility to Greece unchanged at 89 billion euros ($133 billion), a banking source said.
Manfred Weber, the German leader of the biggest group in the European parliament, the centre-right European People's Party (EPP), drew a mix of boos and cheers after he launched an attack on the Greek government's failure to propose reforms.
He accused Mr Tsipras of misleading Greek voters, destroying trust in Europe and insulting other leaders.
"To the far-left and the far-right you have a lot of applause," Mr Weber said, directing his comments at Mr Tsipras.
"The extremists of Europe are applauding you."
The European project is actually beginning to die ... Frankly, if you've got the courage, you should lead the Greek people out of the Eurozone with your head held high.
Nigel Farage from the anti-EU UK Independence Party
The centrist leader in parliament, former Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt, won his own applause by urging Mr Tsipras to make good on promises of sweeping away privileges of vested interests that have restricted the Greek economy.
Mr Tsipras appeared to be jotting notes as Mr Verhofstadt ran through a list that included privatising banks, liberalising access to some professions and ending special treatments for shipping magnates, the military and the Orthodox Church.
"The choice you have is very simple. How do you want to be remembered?" Mr Verhofstadt said, noting the vast majority of Greeks wanted to keep the euro.
"As an electoral accident who made his people poorer in his country? Or do you want to be remembered, Mr Tsipras, as a real revolutionary reformer."
Britain's Nigel Farage of the anti-EU UK Independence Party said the Greek crisis simply confirmed a terminal split between the economies of northern and southern Europe that made the euro and the EU unworkable.
"The European project is actually beginning to die," he said, addressing Mr Tsipras, who showed no emotion.
"Frankly, if you've got the courage, you should lead the Greek people out of the Eurozone with your head held high."
From other news sites: