Alexis Tsipras, the Greek prime minister, has promised to defy his critics by taking the country out of its longest-running crisis in modern times. “The worst is clearly behind us,” he told the Guardian in an exclusive interview.
“We can now say with certainty that the economy is on the up … Slowly, slowly, what nobody believed could happen, will happen. We will extract the country from the crisis … and in the end that will be judged.”
It is two and a half years since Tsipras assumed power. An improbable leader at the start of Athens’s great economic debt drama, the former communist youth activist is now the longest serving premier in the eight years during which Greece has struggled to keep bankruptcy at bay.
Yet it has been at immense cost, and while facing at times megaphone criticism, that has clearly hurt. “When I came into this office, I had no experience, or sense, of how big the day-to-day difficulties would be,” he concedes. “I think, now, I have a very different picture from the one I had initially.”
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