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Act responsibly, Osborne tells new leaders of Greece

George Osborne has urged Greece's new leaders to act "responsibly" after anti-austerity party Syriza triumphed in elections.

The Chancellor said the party's promises to voters appeared "very difficult to deliver" and "incompatible with what the eurozone currently demands of its members".

He also warned that the uncertainty generated would have an impact on Britain.

Alexis Tsipras's Syriza won the poll, but fell just short of an overall majority. He has pledged to renegotiate Greece's €240 billion (£179bn) international bailout deal and reverse many of the reforms that creditors demanded in exchange for keeping Greece financially afloat since 2010.

That would potentially place the country on a collision course with Angela Merkel's Germany, Europe's largest economy.

Mr Osborne said he understood that Greeks were "looking for other answers" after years of economic suffering. But he insisted the election was "not a defeat of austerity, it is a defeat of economic plans that do not work".

"Ultimately, this is just the latest chapter in the eurozone crisis - it increases economic uncertainty and it reminds the UK that we need to work through the economic plan," Mr Osborne said. "I think the obligation on the eurozone is to come forward with an economic policy that delivers jobs and growth."

"But I hope that both sides now act responsibly."

But Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: "This stunning election victory is a tribute to the Greek people who have now firmly rejected the disastrous austerity policies imposed on them by the troika of the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund."

Markets took the Syriza win in their stride. The FTSE 100 Index was only a little below four-month highs while Germany's Dax was ahead strongly and France's Cac 40 was also in front. New York's Dow Jones Industrial Average was little changed.

Analysts said the widely-expected win by Syriza had already been "priced in" to shares and the true impact of the result on the eurozone was too early to ascertain - with the likelihood that all sides would "muddle through".

Belfast Telegraph


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