BUSINESS

Creditors up pressure on Athens

SOTIRIS NIKAS

ESM head Klaus Regling

TAGS: Finance

The government on Wednesday came under significant pressure from Greece’s international creditors to fully implement its bailout program and deal with its internal squabbling over certain agreed measures.

In public, creditor representatives asked Athens to take ownership of the program, while during the course of their meeting with Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos they made it clear there should be no delays in the implementation of the summer measures and the completion of the second review in the fall.

European Commission representative Declan Costello on Wednesday told an Economist conference at Lagonissi, eastern Attica, that the challenge of the second review is enforcing the measures agreed in the first review of the country’s third bailout: “The implementation sets other challenges. You have to mobilize the public administration [and] to tackle vested interests. The management of the public sector will constitute the biggest challenge,” he stated.

The head of the European Stability Mechanism, Klaus Regling, spoke in an interview on Skai TV of ministerial statements against privatizations, and said changes to labor relations will be discussed in the fall, and will be difficult, but “there is no alternative.”

Earlier at The Economist conference he had also called for the government to take ownership of the program: “I can see the commitment of the prime minister and the finance minister, but I do not see the same commitment from the entire government, and I would like to see that.”

Delia Velculescu, head of the International Monetary Fund’s mission to Greece, was strongly critical of the program and the interventions regarding the national debt. She made it clear the Fund is not entirely happy with the conclusion of the first review, asking for additional reforms by the government and a greater debt lightening by the eurozone.

The Romanian official added that the Greek debt is not sustainable. Even with the full implementation of the bailout agreement, she said, the debt would remain unsustainable. It would take a major extension of maturity periods and fixed rates for Greece to be able to pay off its debts, she estimated.

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