FinMin: De­lays costly

Tsakalo­tos tells Kathimerini that re­form foot-drag­ging main­tains un­cer­tainty

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Fi­nance Min­is­ter Eu­clid Tsakalo­tos warns that de­lays in im­ple­ment­ing agreed re­forms and mea­sures with the coun­try’s in­ter­na­tional cred­i­tors will main­tain a cli­mate of un­cer­tainty and chip away at the coun­try’s credibility ahead of Greece’s next bailout re­view.

In an in­ter­view with Sunday’s Kathimerini, Tsakalo­tos said that the ma­jor­ity of gov­ern­ment mem­bers were on board with the pro­gram, im­ply­ing, how­ever, that some ap­pear un­aware of the sit­u­a­tion’s grav­ity.

“We need a co­her­ent pro­gram for the com­ing pe­riod,” he said, adding that the gov­ern­ment must pri­or­i­tize what ar­eas it will throw its weight be­hind. “The pro­gram and its im­ple- men­ta­tion is not a mat­ter of a bet­ter or a worse cabi­net, but one con­cern­ing all of SYRIZA’s po­lit­i­cal or­ga­ni­za­tion and the party, in­clud­ing MPs,” he said.

Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras last week hailed Tuesday’s sale of Greek bonds, the first in three years, as a mile­stone on the coun­try’s way to ex­it­ing the cri­sis and in­ter­na­tional bailouts. The bond is­sue, which raised 3 bil­lion eu­ros, is “the most im­por­tant mes­sage and the most sig­nif­i­cant step in order to fin­ish this un­pleas­ant ad­ven­ture of the mem­o­ran­dum,” he said.

Tsakalo­tos echoed the pre­mier’s sen­ti­ments and dis­missed crit­ics who – cit­ing the bond’s slightly lower yield than the one in 2014 – said that Greece is es­sen­tially back at the same point it was three years ago. “It was a suc­cess­ful foray, as was de­noted in the state­ments by for­eign in­sti­tu­tions [the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank, Euro­pean Com­mis­sion and Euro­pean Sta­bil­ity Mech­a­nism] and the me­dia,” Tsakalo­tos said, adding that yields of the 2014 bond rose at a far higher rate.

“Our fu­ture tar­get is not just to re­duce the cost of bor­row­ing but to re­turn Greece to nor­malcy with re­gards to mar­ket ac­cess, which will force bor­row­ing rates in the pri­vate sec­tor down­wards and al­low banks and busi­nesses to bor­row again on bet­ter terms,” Tsakalo­tos said.

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