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Greece's Tsipras Tells EU Leaders He Wants 'Socially Just' Solution To Crisis

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Greece's prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, went before the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, today. He said he wants a fair and viable solution to his country's debt crisis. The atmosphere in the chamber was heated.

(APPLAUSE, BOOS)

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Tsipras called the crisis a European problem that needs European solutions. And he said he wants an agreement with a program for growth.

SIEGEL: He cited his country's recent referendum rejecting the latest bailout offer.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ALEXIS TSIPRAS: (Speaking Greek).

SIEGEL: He said he'd been given a mandate to get a socially just solution for the problem.

MCEVERS: Among the members of Parliament criticizing Tsipras was former Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

GUY VERHOFSTADT: You are talking about reforms, but we never see concrete proposals of reforms.

(APPLAUSE)

VERHOFSTADT: And I'm angry why? I'm angry why? I'm angry because we are in fact sleepwalking towards a Grexit.

MCEVERS: Grexit - that's a Greek exit from the eurozone, the group of countries using the euro as currency. Verhofstadt continued.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

VERHOFSTADT: The choice that we have is very simple. How do you want to be remembered - as an electoral accident who made its people poorer in his country or want to be remembered, Mr. Tsipras, as a real revolutionary performer?

SIEGEL: Unlikely praise for the politically far-left Greek prime minister came from the far right. The leader of the U.K. Independence Party, Nigel Farage, praised Tsipras for standing up to European leaders. The fierce eurozone critic offered his own suggestion for Greece.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

NIGEL FARAGE: Frankly, if you've got the courage, you should lead the Greek people out of the eurozone with your head held high.

MCEVERS: For now, Greece is working to stay in the eurozone. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.