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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 16-12-22

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Obstacles to short-term debt relief to soon be lifted, gov't source predicts

  • [01] Obstacles to short-term debt relief to soon be lifted, gov't source predicts

    A Greek government source on Thursday expressed confidence that the obstacles to the short-term debt relief measures for Greece will be overcome and a second review of the Greek programme will be completed, speaking to reporters at the Maximos Mansion.

    The unlocking of the short-term measures was "a matter of days," the source said, predicting that a final solution will be reached sometime next week. It was not expected that another meeting of EU bodies will be needed, the source added.

    Commenting on the confusion surrounding events on Wednesday, the source said this was confined to the ranks of the press and explained that, since there was no decision from the EuroWorking Group asking for specific things, the Greek side could not send a letter.

    Asked whether there should have been a consultation with Greece's EU partners before Greece adopted social welfare measures, the source noted that this was an issue for the Eurogroup.

    "What is permitted and what is forbidden is that which is permitted and forbidden by the Eurogroup," the government official said while admitting that "quarters in Brussels were probably right" when they said that "Berlin was simply looking for an excuse to suspend the debt-relief measures."

    According to the government, a solution within January is achievable if all sides behave constructively. According to Athens, the only reason for present delay are the measures demanded by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), now under discussion.

    "But for this issue, the review would have been completed on December 5," the source said, though clarifying that the sides had not reached full agreement on the remaining issues, such as labour relations.

    Explaining the government's confidence that the review will be completed, the source noted that the problem was political, not technical, and therefore the solution can only be political. "Some conservative governments do not feel so comfortable with the SYRIZA government. However, it is the people of each country that decide the government and not the partners," the source added.

    Nobody should want to artificially rekindle the Greek crisis at this time, the source noted. The official insisted it would be artificial since the Greek economy was now showing signs of recovery, such as positive growth rates or overperformance of revenue targets. Such an artificial resurgence of the Greek issue could arise if certain parties adopted an inflexible stance in order to pander to domestic audiences under pressure from the far-right, he warned.

    "The internal political conflicts and party clashes in other countries cannot define the Greek programme at the time when its targets are being met and a page is being turned," the official indicated. To have forces seeking to topple a government in another country was reminiscent of Europe's dark past, which should be left to oblivion, the source added.

    Concerning the IMF's participation in the programme, the source said the Greek government wants the IMF to "make up its mind" and noted that an extension of the "spending cutter" had not been part of the negotiations. The source also noted that 2015 and 2016 were the first years in which the targets of the Greek programme were met and predicted that 2016 would end with a positive growth rate, in spite of main opposition New Democracy's gloomy predictions.

    Replying to questions on the Cyprus issue, the government official said that a bilateral meeting was necessary for the success of the multilateral meeting on January 12.


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