Gov’t spox: Legislation of positive measures and reforms will be simultaneous

The positive measures planned in 2018 will be legislated for alongside the reforms and implemented if Greece meets a primary surplus target of 3.5 pct of GDP, which is virtually certain, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said on Monday.

The spokesman was replying to questions regarding a document that Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem tabled in the Dutch Parliament on Monday, as well as press reports stating that the positive measures will only be legislated for if there is “sufficient fiscal space”.

Tzanakopoulos pointed out that Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos but also the Eurogroup president himself had noted that fiscal space concerned forecasts not results. He explained that in December 2018, when the draft budget for 2019 is tabled, there must be a mechanism in place to certify that Greece will meet the 3.5 pct of GDP target by the end of the year. This mechanism being negotiated with Greece’s partners, given that the fiscal performance for 2018 would not be officially certified by Eurostat before April 2019.

Commenting on statements made by Interior Minister Panos Skourletis to a radio station on Monday, referring to the majority needed to approve the agreement in Parliament, Tzanakopoulos said that the minister was “talking politically, not institutionally”. It was a call to the opposition to “rise above itself,” admit that the deal was much better than it expected and vote in favour, he said.

Other than that, the government had a majority of 153 MPs and there was no legal or other reason to strive for any greater majority, Tzanakopoulos added.