Last Update: 09:44
The government is "determined" to complete the third program review as soon as possible, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Sunday, speaking at a press briefing at the 82nd Thessaloniki International Fair.
"The government is determined to proceed with great speed [...] to complete the third review as soon as possible," he told journalists adding he will soon call a cabinet meeting to discuss the issue.
He also blamed the delays in the last review on the Greece΄s creditors who he said made demands that were not part of the deal. "The time of the completion of the review is a very crucial issue," he said.
The prime minister also presented the government΄s plan to relieve some of the economic pressure on poorer Greeks, saying that it is possible there will be a financial margin to make some changes as of 2019. By limiting tax evasion and smuggling, there΄s optimism that the government will not only achieve the targets, by create a reserve, he continued.
"This is our aim and we are determined to move ahead on it," he said, and reminded journalists the economy΄s over-performance in 2016 and 2017.
Asked by the Athens-Macedonian News Agency whether the government plans to give pensioners again a one-off Christmas bonus this year, he said: "This will depend on the existence of fiscal space, high growth rates and meeting the budgetary targets which are quite stringent and have been recorded in the medium-term [program]."
He said the government will have the fiscal space created by a 3.5 percent surplus in order to make some necessary corrections as of 2019. This will be beyond the support measures already agreed with creditors for 2018 and 2019, totaling one percent of GDP in 2019 and another one percent in 2020, to counteract the recessionary measures of the program.
Asked about his stance on Turkey΄s accession talks, Tsipras said it will be a tactical and strategic mistake for the European Union to halt them. He said he disagrees with the view presented recently by some European partners who suggested abandoning talks, noting that Turkey is an important regional power and should remain engaged.
At the same time, he urged Turkey to review its attitude towards Greece by stopping its provocations and airspace violations, and keep a more reasonable stance on Cyprus.