Hardouvelis: The negotiations with the technical team of lenders are on a good path

The negotiations with the technical team of Greece’s troika of lenders “are on a good path and the government has managed to have a positive approach to most of the issues that were open,” Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis said in Parliament on Monday, speaking on an amendment that will ratify a two-month extension to the Greece’s fiscal programme granted by the European Commission earlier this month.

The amendment was attached as a rider to a ministry of health bill in Parliament and pushes the end of the programme from December 31, 2014 to the end of February 2015.

Hardouvelis said the extension will open the way to Greece’s getting the last tranche (1.8 billion euros) of the loan from Europe and the double tranche (3.6 billion euros) from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The release of the tranches are tied to Greece’s getting a positive final review of the fiscal programme by the troika of lenders, which includes the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF.

Hardouvelis emphasised the country’s fiscal needs for 2015, underlining that Greece needs to pay out 4.5 billion euros within the next quarter. “With the achievement of an agreement we will enter a new relationship with our lenders. Greece will regain access to the markets, having in any case secured precautionary credit line funding. Market expectations will change for the better, the cost of borrowing will drop and the danger and uncertainty for the country will end,” the minister said.

He added, “In any case, the judicious recourse to markets calls for an expenditure that will not jeopardise the viability of fiscal adjustment and the public debt; it will be then that the issue of the debt will be put on the table for discussion, at last,” and he called for political consensus to help the Greek economy avoid slipping backward and growing instead.