The swiftest possible conclusion of the second review of Greece’s programme was in everybody’s best interests, Greek MEP and European Parliament Vice-President Dimitris Papadimoulis said on Monday, speaking to the Greek radio station “Athina 9.84”.
“It is in our interests, since that means Greece will join the ECB’s quantitative easing programme that much sooner and this will give a signal of progress to the economy, but also in [the interests] of the European lenders, who would rather not have our country as a source of controversy in the chain of upcoming elections in the EU,” Papadimoulis said.
He cited a statement by European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis saying that it would be possible to complete the review before March 20, noting that either this date or April 7 will allow Greece to join the ECB’s QE programme in the spring. This was essential, he added, chiefly because it will allow Greek businesses to borrow at a lower interest rate that will help boost investments and assist the recovery of the economy, thus reducing unemployment.
He admitted that some thorny issues remained in the talks with the institutions that would resume on Tuesday but also noted that, on the positive side, “we are not talking about additional measures but an overall package of measures whose net fiscal impact is zero.”
Commenting on recent tension with Turkey, Papadimoulis said the Turkish side was “looking for a fight” due to the upcoming referendum in that country. Greece should not play into its hands, he added, but calmly and steadily defend its national rights while “avoiding the trap of rhetoric that could possibly lead to a chain of tensions.”
In connection with the Cyprus issue, Papadimoulis said a deadlock must be avoided. He said primary responsibility for the worsening atmosphere lay with Ankara and its influence on the Turkish Cypriot leader but stressed that Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and the AKEL party must “not be trapped in a dynamic that will lead to a breakdown in the talks.”