Greece is not prepared to pass legislation now for measures that will go into effect in 2019 and has made this abundantly clear, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said in an interview with the Sunday edition of the Athens-based daily “Ethnos”.
“We are prepared to describe some classes of measures, which in the opinion of the lenders may possibly be needed after the end of the programme. But, as I have publicly and repeatedly said, I consider that these classes of measures are extremely unlikely to be needed,” Tsakalotos stated.
The minister acknowledged the great importance of progress at the next Eurogroup, while noting that only the Greek opposition and Greek press appeared to blame Greece for this lack of progress.
According to Tsakalotos, none of the main actors stood to gain from inaction and no one wanted a repetition of 2015, which was why Greece was pressing for a rapid agreement and completion of the second review. He also noted that the important political developments in the coming year would not come from Greece but from the countries about to hold elections.
During the interview, Tsakalotos outlined reasons why one percentage point from the 3.5 pct primary surplus should be used to reduce social insurance contributions and taxes, chief among them a reduction in unemployment.
Regarding an “upgraded” role for the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), the finance minister said he agreed with the principle that Europeans should solve European problems but noted that the European Commission was also needed.
On quantitative easing, Tsakalotos admitted that the German side did not view this favourably in general but pointed out that the German finance minister “has no reason to not help Greece enter this programme.” It was therefore reasonable to expect “our rapid inclusion in the programme after the completion of the second review,” he said.
This, he added, must also include a description of the medium-term measures for the debt, which will be directly linked to the short-term measures whose implementation is already underway.