Tzanakopoulos: Elections in Germany not expected to affect its strategy on Greece

The elections in Germany are not expected to bring about changes that will affect the German political system’s strategy on Greece, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said on Sunday, in an interview with the Greek radio station ‘Athina 9.84’.

The strategy of the two larger German parties was clearly in the direction of completing the third Greek programme, he added.

“There would have to be a particularly great political surprise, and a sharp rise for parties with extreme views, for us to see a strategic shift in Germany over the Greek issue,” he said.

Tzanakopoulos noted that the June 15 agreement was a good basis for continuing staff-level discussions on the Greek programme, and that this discussion will continue after the German elections and “will, I believe, quickly lead to a good result.”

Asked about a planned visit to Athens by Eurogroup President Jeroen Djisselbloem, he said this would focus on the completing the programme. He also emphasised the need for Greece to exit the current tight supervision and the four-monthly reviews and noted that, after the completion of the programme,

Greece’s economy will be supervised by the institutions “on the basis of the provisions of European law and the European Commission’s rules.”

Asked about the oil spill in the Saronic Gulf, Tzanakopoulos said the briefing he was given by the shipping ministry said that the emergency plan was set in motion 15 minutes after the ministry was notified of the shipwreck. “This plan calls for specific actions and, once the investigation is complete, will will see whether and to what extent…the operation unfolded as planned in such cases or whether specific mistakes were made,” he added.

If the investigation found evidence of negligence, those responsible would be dealt with using the greatest possible severity, he said.

In earlier statements published in the Greek daily “Kathimerini” on Sunday, Tzanakopoulos said the government’s goal was to complete the third review of the programme “as quickly as possible” and be done with the majority of prior actions by early November.

“This is feasible, given that the responsibility for the delay of the previous reviews was not the Greek government’s but mainly because of the fiscal demands of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Now, by contrast, the Greek economy’s performance and the fiscal situation do not allow room for new demands,” he said, since Greece was not only meeting but surpassing targets.

The spokesman also denied that there were any differences of opinion between the prime minister’s office and the finance ministry on how the goals can be achieved.

“The finance ministry has a full and extremely detailed picture of the state of public finances and the Greek economy as a whole. It is on the basis of this picture that the Greek government makes public its forecasts and makes plans ahead of the review,” he pointed out, noting that ‘differences’ were simply not possible.