Economy Minister Dragasakis rules out new memorandum or credit line

There will be no extension of the Greek financial assistance programme when this ends in August, nor any precautionary credit line, Economy and Development Minister Yiannis Dragasakis said on Thursday.

“There is no thought of extending the programme. This ends in August and we are talking about ending it sooner, in June. There are forces in the country that have invested in the government’s destruction. They were proved wrong and will be proved wrong again,” Dragasakis said in an interview to the radio station “24/7”.

He also ruled out a precautionary credit line, noting that this would come with additional conditions, but left open the possibility of an increase in the minimum wage – possibly from this year – and said the government was striving to restore collective bargaining.

“We will have a ‘piggy bank’ of 20 billion euros as a protective buffer,” he noted, dismissing arguments that Greece was not ready to tap the markets as “doom-mongering” by forces that had bet on the government’s failure and were now fighting a rearguard action.

“Our course is steady. The recovery is real,” he added, noting that the government was now working to promptly complete the fourth review ahead of Greece’s scheduled exit from the programme in August.

On wages, Dragasakis said it was essential that they go up while noting that the next steps concerning pensions would be examined once Greece had exited the programme and things had “cleared up”.

Asked about non-performing loans, he said that this was a problem that had to be solved and pointed out that all the parties involved, especially the banks, must work together if the out-of-court settlement mechanism is to bring the desired results.