Plan nearly lost in trans­la­tion

Har­dou­velis says cred­i­tors will now be con­fined to the back seat of the car that the gov­ern­ment will drive

Kathimerini English - - C O M M E N Tary - BY SOTIRIS NIKAS

Brussels and Athens yes­ter­day both re­futed sug­ges­tions that there would be a dis­cus­sion about ex­tend­ing Greece’s ex­ist­ing fis­cal adjustment pro­gram at to­day’s Eurogroup meet­ing of eu­ro­zone fi­nance min­is­ters. Fi­nance Min­is­ter Gikas Har­dou­velis even re­it­er­ated in an in­ter­view that Athens and its cred­i­tors will have a spe­cial re­la­tion­ship for a tran­si­tional pe­riod last­ing six to 12 months.

The con­fu­sion arose from a mis­trans­la­tion in a doc­u­ment that Eurogroup head and Dutch Fi­nance Min­is­ter Jeroen Di­js­sel­bloem for­warded to his coun­try’s par­lia­ment yes­ter­day. It was orig­i­nally thought the doc­u­ment re­ferred to the ex­ist­ing pro­gram, while in fact it wrote that the Eurogroup may also dis­cuss what the follow-up to the cur­rent pro­gram will be.

It added that “the op­tions for the follow-up to the cur­rent pro­gram will also de­pend on Greece’s ac­cess to the credit mar­kets,” and made it clear that no decision is ex­pected on this is­sue at to­day’s Eurogroup.

The sce­nario of ex­tend­ing the ex­ist­ing pro­gram had been ex­am­ined by the cred­i­tors in the past, but ac­cord­ing to gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials it was re­jected some time ago.

It is no co­in­ci­dence that Har­dou­velis stressed in his in­ter­view with Reuters yes­ter­day that Greece will con­tinue to have the support of the eu­ro­zone for an ad­di­tional pe­riod that will be tran­si­tional, and that a safety cush­ion will be cre­ated in case the coun­try can­not draw funds from the mar­kets – i.e. a pre­cau­tion­ary credit line.

“Greece will con­tinue to have the support of the Euro­pean part­ners. They may not be co-driv­ers in the car but they are safe in the back seat and you have a buf­fer in case some­thing neg­a­tive hap­pens that you can draw on,” Har­dou­velis told Reuters be­fore stress­ing that Greece wants the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund in­volved, but only as a lesser part­ner with the eu­ro­zone.

“We would like the IMF to be in­volved in the sense of giv­ing con­fi­dence to the mar­ket that they are watch­ing us a lit­tle bit,” Har­dou­velis stated. “The ex­act IMF re­la­tion­ship is some­thing that is un­der dis­cus­sion. In our view, we would like the EU to have the up­per hand on this.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Greece

© PressReader. All rights reserved.