Athens sees tough talks as EU urges bet­ter co­op­er­a­tion

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

With ten­sions brew­ing be­tween Greece and its cred­i­tors over the progress of re­forms, Euro­pean Commission spokesman Alexan­der Win­ter­stein has stressed the need for the gov­ern­ment to “own” the coun­try’s bailout pro­gram and urged an “im­proved method of work” be­tween Greece and the Commission, ahead of the sec­ond re­view of the coun­try’s third bailout pro­gram in Oc­to­ber, so that it can be suc­cess­fully com­pleted in time.

“These two points are im­por­tant for us and for the success of the pro­gram,” he said, adding that the re­al­iza­tion of the pro­gram hinges on good plan­ning and co­or­di­na­tion.

His com­ments came as Fi­nance Min­is­ter Eu­clid Tsakalo­tos pre­dicted on Mon­day that “dif­fi­cult and con­fronta­tional ne­go­ti­a­tions” lie ahead with cred­i­tors. Tsakalo­tos added, nonethe­less, that he ex­pects the ne­go­ti­a­tions to be eas­ier than those over the first re­view, given that most of the thorny fis­cal mea­sures “are now be­hind us.”

“We now have more in­sti­tu­tional mea­sures to pass now, but the agenda is chang­ing to­ward a growth-ori­ented one and we have more time to per­suade [the cred­i­tors] that we have a par­al­lel pro­gram,” he said. “We want to be con­sis­tent... be­cause we want to cre­ate sta­bil­ity.”

Tsakalo­tos had ear­lier ac­cused mem­bers of the cred­i­tors’ tech­ni­cal teams in Athens of un­der­min­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions. In the mean­time, the pri­mary sur­plus that Greece must achieve af­ter 2018, when the pro­gram ends, is still under ne­go­ti­a­tion, which means that the midterm pro­gram for 2016-20 has still not been con­cluded. The gov­ern­ment’s econ­omy team said the aim is for the pro­gram to be tabled in Parliament next week and voted through by early Au­gust.

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