BUSINESS

Coeure: Debt deal is essential

ELENI VARVITSIOTIS

TAGS: Finance

European Central Bank council member Benoit Coeure asked on Wednesday for a “serious commitment” from the Greek government on the targets and measures highlighted in the bailout program, stressing that this is the way back into financial markets. 

“To bring the program to a successful conclusion and to restore market access on a lasting basis, it is above all essential that the Greek authorities continue to show a serious commitment to the goals and measures taken in the context of the program,” the French banker said, linking a return to the markets with the lightening of Greece’s debt load.

Addressing European Parliament on the issue of strengthening the Greek credit system, Coeure stressed that for the country to return to the markets it needs to first resolve the issue of its debts sustainability.

“We are looking forward to a solution that can reassure markets, restore confidence in the dynamics of public debt [and] allow the full involvement of the IMF in the program,” Coeure told MEPs. This, he added, would allow Greece tap markets before the program ends in July 2018.

Coeure went on to say that everyone involved in the Greek program realizes that there are serious concerns about the sustainability of the country’s debt, while emphasizing that the IMF must remain in the negotiations for Greece to have fair treatment in debt talks.

He also reminded that the Greek economy was on the rebound in the second half of 2014 but the elections called in late December for January 2015 and the rejection of existing commitments by the new government had a seriously detrimental impact on Greece’s already weakened credit sector.

Meanwhile, European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis told the Wirtschaftswoche financial review that reforms are a key condition for Greece’s return to growth and said he expects the country to make the target for a primary surplus of 0.5 percent of GDP this year.

“There is good news from Greece,” he said, but added that tax collection “is one of the problems,” noting that “we are offering technical assistance.”

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