Athens presses for debt relief, now cites EU Summit on June 22; denies more prior actions pending
A return to the markets for Greece’s borrowing needs and a need to send international investors a “positive message” are the primary arguments now being circulated lined by the Greek side in order to press creditors for debt relief measures.
The date on the calendar remains June 15, when Eurogroup finance ministers will gather in Strasbourg to finally approve the second review of the ongoing Greek bailout and deliberate over whatever debt relief measures.
“A decision on June 15, which will permanently solve the Greek issue, is more pressing and possible than ever,” Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Wednesday, speaking at the Concordia 2017 conference taking place in Athens.
Tsipras referred to what he called a “recovery momentum” in the Greek economy, adding that the country “is ready, investors are ready, markets are ready, and all they’re waiting for is a sign from the institutions,” he said, using the word for the country’s creditors – one of the few achievements of gasping negotiations with the troika’s representatives during his government’s first six months in power in 2015.
The previously anti-bailout and anti-austerity leftist leader blamed what he called “distorted choices” emanating from previous policies or due to creditors’ themselves.
Hours earlier, a government spokesman indirectly referred to what the leftist-rightist Greek coalition government considers a “clear-cut solution” to the debt issue. Spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos also left open the possibility of an agreement, even after the latest “unofficial deadline” of June 15, pointing to a week later at the EU summit.
“If finance ministers aren’t given the opportunity to solve the problem, then this must be tabled at a higher level,” he said, adding: “We’re not going to take whatever they give us; if more time is necessary then there is June 22.”
Speaking at the same conference podium as Tsipras, main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the current government is unable to implement the reforms it has agreed to, while at the same time charging that creditors have also not fulfilled their promises for a reduction of the Greek debt.
In a related development, the government later issued a “non paper” disputing earlier press reports claiming that Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos briefed ruling party deputies that they were searching for a “good verbal wording or the proper phraseology” in order gain Greek bonds’ re-inclusion in the ECB’s QE stimulus program.
The unofficial denial said such reports are baseless and also denied that yet another omnibus bill would be tabled in Parliament to pass more “prior actions” in order to conclude the second review.
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