Last Update: 23:50
During an interview with ANT1 television on Tuesday, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras underlined that Greece is willing to legislate the additional reforms demanded by its lenders but implementing them in 2019 and 2020 depends on securing further debt relief.
“We will obviously legislate (the measures) in order to secure a deal on debt relief,” Tsipras stated, saying that he wanted a solution to Greece’s debt burden by May’s end.“They won’t be implemented… unless we get a solution on debt,” he said, adding that “a sovereign government has the right to back out of a deal if its interlocutors do not respect it.”
During the interview, Mr. Tsipras pointed out that there is a substantial discrepancy between the reality and the forecasts made by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in October 2016, when the review should have been completed. He stressed that the final figure for the primary surplus published in April was 42 times higher than the 0.1% of GDP forecast made by the IMF.
“This means that they were asking us for 42 times more measures. This is the pressure we were up against all this time,” the Prime Minister said. He also defended the positive measures envisaged under the final agreement for the Greek program, pointing out that these were measures making up for the lack of a social state that should exist, adding, that there were 600 million euros a year to be spent on rent subsidies, free day care and lower ENFIA property taxes.
He also referred to the large primary surplus achieved in 2016, since alternatively, Greece would have found itself “bouncing back and forth like a ping-pong ball” between IMF chief Christine Lagarde and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.
“A major discussion is now underway about the future of Europe. I have said that we were the guinea pig and I am not saying that Greek governments were not to blame, but it is not the fault of the Greek people,” he said. It was now imperative for the political forces to put an end to the country’s misadventure following 2010, Tsipras added.
When asked about the seizure of bank deposits for debts, he admitted that this was a serious problem. He pointed out that the General Secretariat for Public Revenues was an independent authority with which the government “has good cooperation and discusses, so that there is moderation and those that are unable are protected.”
Finally, regarding the completion of the second review, Tsipras said that Greece had already achieved a political agreement and expressed his firm conviction that there would also be a Staff-Level Agreement by May 22, followed by an agreement for alleviating Greece’s debt burden.