Athens waits for lenders’ move

Af­ter IMF board fails to pro­vide spark, coali­tion hopes Euro­peans will take ini­tia­tive to wrap up re­view

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Athens is hop­ing that its Euro­pean lenders come up with a way to over­come the im­passe in its bailout re­view af­ter a meet­ing of the In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund’s ex­ec­u­tive board on Mon­day left lit­tle room for en­cour­age­ment about a swift con­clu­sion.

Al­though the IMF board did not take a clear po­si­tion re­gard­ing the Fund’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Greek pro­gram, its de­mand for more mea­sures did not in­spire hope in Athens that an agree­ment with the in­sti­tu­tions might be around the cor­ner.

“The Fund can­not on the one hand say that the coun­try does not need more aus­ter­ity and in­sist on lower pri­mary sur­plus tar­gets but on the other ask for the leg­is­la­tion of a lower taxfree thresh­old and new cuts to pen­sions,” gov­ern­ment spokesman Dim­itris Tzanakopou­los said dur­ing a reg­u­lar press brief­ing. “This is a com­pletely con­tra­dic­tory line.”

Tzanakopou­los said he is cer­tain there will be moves on all sides in the com­ing days to bridge the dif­fer­ences be­tween the lenders and be­tween the in­sti­tu­tions and Greece.

Gov­ern­ment sources said that Athens is not think­ing of tak­ing the ini­tia­tive it­self as this would prob­a­bly be fruit­less. In­stead, it hopes that one of the in­sti­tu­tions will make a move as this would mean that some com­mon ground will have been es­tab­lished ear­lier.

“The Greek gov­ern­ment can dis­cuss and agree to what­ever as long as it is sus­tain­able in its en­tirety and leads to Greece’s in­clu­sion in the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank’s QE pro­gram,” said Tzanakopou­los.

New Democ­racy stepped up its calls for the gov­ern­ment to aban­don the change in so­cial se­cu­rity con­tri­bu­tions for the self-em­ployed. Con­ser­va­tive leader Kyr­i­akos Mit­so­takis re- peated his call for tax cuts, a mes­sage the party be­lieves is res­onat­ing with the mid­dle class.

An opin­ion poll by Rass for the news web­site pub­lished yes­ter­day gave New Democ­racy a strong lead over SYRIZA. The con­ser­va­tives gar­nered 28.6 per­cent, 11.8 per­cent­age points ahead of the left­ists, whose sup­port reached 16.8 per­cent.

New Democ­racy also con­tin­ued to ask for more de­tails about a re­cent trip to Paris by Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras, where he met with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of L’Oreal and Roth­schild & Co in­vest­ment bank.

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