Finance Minister Tsakalotos: Our main goal is to exit supervision (upd)

Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos on Friday called on the parliament not to let the opposition parties turn the Eurogroup discussion on the debt and the development policy into a discussion on the prior actions.

“The government does not want to silence anyone,” Tsakalotos said, adding that he cannot understand “the great surprise of the opposition parties, which are aware that Greece has been under supervision for last seven years and that the correlations of forces are against the government.”

He also underlined the government’s efforts to ease that supervision.

“We are pressing in the negotiations so that the final agreement contains a clean solution that gives growth prospects to the country. The Greek government’s basic strategy is for the country to gain access to markets via quantitative easing and to exit the programme,” he said.

Tsakalotos suggested that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) demands for additional austerity measures were made chiefly to put pressure on Greece’s partners to ease Greek debt. The government accepted a compromise on the lenders’ proposal on a basis that gave hope that Greece’s economy could build on an emerging growth momentum, he added.

The negotiation currently underway was “many-sided” and Greece was pressing for greater clarity on the debt relief measures that will be adopted at the end of the programme, Tsakalotos said, while criticising the coverage of the negotiations by the local media.

Labour Minister Efi Achtsioglou, on her part, noted that Greece had met the commitments it had made. Its partners in the EU now had a moral and political obligation to provide debt relief, she added.
“It is clear that Greece met its commitments and did more than it had to in order to not jeopardise the country’s economy,” she noted, defending the amendments legislating for the last prior actions envisaged under the Greek programme.

These included a one-year extension of a pensions freeze until 2022, instead of 2021 as originally decided, where she stressed that the Eurogroup had rejected the Greek side’s last plan. With the measures contained in the amendments tabled on Friday, she added, the prior actions of the 2nd review were formally completed and no one would have any pretext or excuse for not discussing the medium-term measures for the debt, she said.