A letter from Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos to the country’s creditors, reaffirming the left-led government’s commitment to reforms demanded as part of Greece’s third bailout, has been leaked to the press.
The letter, which helped restart talks about initial Greek debt relief measures that were frozen over the administration’s decision to grant a Christmas bonus to pensioners, has become a source of controversy between the government and the opposition.
“As regards the pension measure, please note that both the Prime Minister [Alexis Tsipras] and myself have made it publicly clear, and will continue to do so, that this is a one-off payment that is not intended to become a permanent feature of the recently enacted pension reform,” Tsakalotos said in the letter, adding that the temporary suspension of a VAT hike for Aegean islands hit by the migration crisis was limited to 2017 and was fully funded in the 2017 budget.
“The Greek authorities remain fully committed to pursue the agreed fiscal path that is based on primary surplus targets of 0.5, 1.75 and 3.5 percent of GDP in 2016, 2017 and 2018 respectively, Tsakalotos said.
The leftist minister said Greek authorities vowed to activate the contingency fiscal mechanism, put in place in the context of the first review, in case outturn data indicated that the agreed targets have not been met.
“I recognize that measures with fiscal implications need to be discussed and agreed with the institutions in line with our MoU commitments,” Tsakalotos said.
“I hope that these clarifications reassure the Eurogroup on our full commitment to remain compliant with our obligations under the MoU, both as regards the substance as well as the process of cooperation with our partners,” Tsakalotos concluded.
Earlier on Tuesday, opposition parties urged the government to reveal the content of the letter.