PM: Greece can’t af­ford more de­lays

Tsipras urges min­is­ters to ex­pe­dite ef­forts to im­ple­ment prior ac­tions be­fore year’s end

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Greece can­not af­ford any more de­lays in the com­ple­tion of the third review of its third bailout by for­eign cred­i­tors if it is to ac­cess in­ter­na­tional mar­kets and be­gin debt re­lief dis­cus­sions, ac­cord­ing to Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras, who con­vened a cab­i­net meet­ing on the sub­ject yes­ter­day.

Given the de­lays plagu­ing ef­forts to im­ple­ment dozens of prior ac­tions by the end of year, Tsipras urged min­is­ters to do their best to meet dead­lines.

The gov­ern­ment’s course for the com­ple­tion of their review is set to be a dif­fi­cult one as only 18 of the 95 prior ac­tions have so far been im­ple­mented.

Tsipras wants to com­plete the review as quickly as pos­si­bly in or­der to fa­cil­i­tate Greece’s ac­cess to in­ter­na­tional mar­kets. The ef­fort will be put to the test with the swap of 20 small bonds that were is­sued as part of Greece’s debt re­struc­tur­ing in 2012 with four new ones.

The gov­ern­ment hopes this will take place in Novem­ber.

Debt re­lief is also in­ex­tri­ca­bly linked with the suc­cess­ful wrap-up of the review. Ahead of Mon­day’s meet­ing be­tween Tsipras and In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund chief Chris­tine La­garde, the head of the IMF in Europe, Poul Thom­sen, ap­peared op­ti­mistic with re­gard to the key de­mand of Greek debt re­lief.

Dis­cus­sions about the debt, he said, will be­gin soon so the IMF can ac­ti­vate its pro­gram. Dur­ing a press brief­ing yes­ter­day, Thom­sen re­it­er­ated La­garde’s po­si­tion that the Fund it is not ask­ing Greece for fur­ther fis­cal mea­sures.

“Our pro­gram has a pri­mary sur­plus tar­get of 2.2 per­cent of GDP for 2018,” he said, adding that, ac­cord­ing to his in­for­ma­tion, Greece will achieve this tar­get.

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