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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 15-05-24

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Chountis: 'We want an agreement but are prepared for any outcome'
  • [02] Lafazanis: The creditors are engaging in 'open blackmail'

  • [01] Chountis: 'We want an agreement but are prepared for any outcome'

    ANA-MPA -- The government and the prime minister are prepared for a new agreement but also for every possible outcome, Alternate Foreign Minister for European Affairs Nikos Chountis said on Sunday, in an interview with the ANA-MPA. He also warned that Greece will not be able to pay the next installment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in June, unless it received loans that have been withheld since August 2014. "The Greek government is determined to remain faithful to its promises and its programme. Our main weapon is the support of the people. In every case we will seek an agreement-solution that is also beneficial for a Europe of justice and democracy. Otherwise we are ready for every possibility, defending the interests of the Greek people and the prospects of the country," Chountis said when asked to make a prediction for the immediate future. Among others, the minister expressed the opinion that the negotiation was "political" and that this had been confirmed by the results of the prime minister's meetings on the sidelines of the EU summit in Riga with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. "The statements of the leaders that they will do whatever they can to achieve an agreement confirm that the problem will be resolved on a political level and this is encouraging," he said. A second element arising from the talks in Riga was general awareness that time was running out and any further delay in resolving the issues under negotiation will have repercussions in every direction, Chountis said. "To be more exact, I refer to the fact that we were recently faced with the dilemma over whether we could pay an installment to the IMF. And I will tell you honestly that at the start of June, unless there is a disbursement of delayed loan tranches to Greece - which are 3.5 billion euros from the IMF, 1.5 billion and 1.9 billion euros from the deductions of the European Central Bank (ECB) bonds and 1.2-1.8 billion euros from the European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF) - unless there is a disbursement of at least this tranche that has delayed since August, then the Greek government has said that its priority will be to pay wages and pensions." According to the minister, it was now clear from the talks that the two sides must go to a "solution-agreement" whose scope went beyond the next tranche of loans or batch of memorandum measures but addressed the fundamental issues of the debt and how to boost growth.

    [02] Lafazanis: The creditors are engaging in 'open blackmail'

    ANA-MPA -- Addressing SYRIZA's Central Committee meeting on Sunday, Productive Reconstruction Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis accused Greece's creditors of "the harshest, open blackmail" in their handling of the negotiations with the Greek government. The head of SYRIZA's Left Platform, Lafazanis strongly criticised the European officials and said the "smiles conceal the reality". He called for an agreement that was in line with SYRIZA's programme, saying the voters had asked for the abolition of the memorandums and that the creditors' goal was a breakdown in the talks and to "exterminate the government and the country." In this case, Lafazanis added, the government needed an alternative plan and to counterattack. He also expressed opposition to privatisations on ideological grounds, saying they would not help to reduce fiscal deficits. He said the government needed a plan in case it was unable to pay its creditors and in this framework must start to prepare the people about what may happen next.
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