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Agreement will be Greece's exit from the programme and supervision

26/04/2017

Only the main opposition and its MEPs continue to claim that the Greek government is to blame for the delays in concluding the second review of Greece's economic adjustment programme, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras asserted on Tuesday, in an interview on the Greek television station ANT1.


Stressing that Greece's current state of supervision must end, Tsipras said that the government will vote for the measures demanded by the creditors in order for Greece to finally exit the programme, noting that the measures were the means for exiting the programme.

 

"Obviously we will vote for measures in order to get the matter of the debt. The measures will not be implemented unless the debt issue is solved," the prime minister added, while also expressing his conviction that achieving a primary surplus of 3.5 pct of GDP was "not a pipe dream" for Greece.
"The sacrifices of the Greek people must lead to a result and we have proved that they can yield a result," he said.

During the interview, the prime minister highlighted the great discrepancy between the reality and the forecasts made by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in October 2016, when the review should have been completed. The final figure for the primary surplus published in April was 42 times higher than the 0.1 pct of GDP forecast made by the IMF, he pointed out.


"This means that they were asking us for 42 times more measures. This is the pressure we were up against all this time," Tsipras said and noted that, throughout this time, the opposition had been hypocritically pressing the government to hurry and conclude the review.
The prime minister defended the positive measures envisaged under the final agreement for the Greek programme, pointing out that these were measures making up for the lack of a social state that should exist. Among these, he added, were 600 million euros a year to be spent on rent subsidies, free day care and lower ENFIA property taxes.

Continuing his attack on the opposition, Tsipras pointed out that its gloomy predictions about the activation of an automatic "contingency mechanism" to cut down spending had been proved wrong because the government had activated "cutters" for tax evasion and graft instead.
He also referred to his relief at the large primary surplus achieved in 2016 since, in the opposite case, Greece would have found itself "bouncing back and forth like a ping-pong ball" between IMF chief Christine Lagarde and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.
"A major discussion in now underway about the future of Europe. I have said that we were the guinea pig and I am not saying that Greek governments were not to blame, but it is not the fault of the Greek people," he said. It was now imperative for the political forces to put an end to the country's misadventure following 2010, Tsipras added.

The opposition was misinformed concerning overdue debts, according to the prime minister, since these were now tending to fall, while even the "bad IMF" forecast growth rates exceeding 2 pct of GDP in 2017.

He defended the government's record on privatisations, noting that it had succeeded in agreeing good prices, and that the agreement with the Chinese for Piraeus port would have been better "if we were not governing with a gun to our head".

Regarding the completion of the second review, Tsipras said that Greece already had a political agreement and expressed his firm conviction that there would also be a Staff-Level Agreement by May 22, followed by an agreement for alleviating Greece's debt burden.
Asked about Germany's stance toward Greece, the prime minister described the German finance minister as a "formidable opponent" and said that German Chancellor Angela Merkel had been forced to back down from the policy that she had imposed on Europe but had shown her awareness and that she was "open-minded" during the refugee crisis.

Tsipras said that Greece's geographical position at a 'crossroads' was a blessing, noting that the country was being "upgraded geopolitically and economically" and that the exit from the crisis would not be achieved only through negotiations.
Asked about the seizure of bank deposits for debts, he admitted that this was a "serious problem". He pointed out that the General Secretariat for Public Revenues was an independent authority with which the government "has good cooperation and discusses, so that there is moderation and those that are unable are protected."

He also commented on the privatisation of the Public Power Corporation (PPC), saying it was one thing to sell the right to provide the service and another thing to sell off the networks. "We made sure that we prevented the sale of the 'small' PPC," he said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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