ATHENS - Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras defended the painful bailout proposals his leftwing government presented to parliament on Friday, saying they were difficult measures but would help keep Greece in the euro zone.
Arguing that the mix of tax hikes and spending cuts was better on many points than the package rejected by voters in a referendum on Sunday, Tsipras insisted that he had won important concessions on restructuring Greece's enormous public debt.
"For the first time, we have on the table a substantial discussion for a debt restructuring," he said in a debate before parliament votes on endorsing the proposals.
He said Greece would meet 6.8 billion euros of payments on maturing bonds held by the European Central Bank due in July and August and said that the capital controls imposed on banks would not force the government to take new fiscal measures.
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