NEWS

Barroso: Political clashes stymied Greek progress

TOM ELLIS

TAGS: Diplomacy, Economy, EU

Unnecessary political clashes prevented Greece from emerging from its financial crisis like other countries, former European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso has told Sunday's Kathimerini in an interview, adding that he does not expect a debt relief settlement until after German elections in September.

In periods of crisis, political parties should work together as part of a national plan, Barroso said, adding that constantly blaming the creditors for everything does not solve the problem and noting that other countries with financial problems such as Ireland and his native Portugal managed to emerge from their respective crises relatively quickly as they avoided the “political mistakes” made in Greece.

The former EC president noted that the threat of Grexit has not completely disappeared, though the eurozone is better prepared to deal with such an eventuality.

However, he said he believed the Greek economy would improve as the current government has become more realistic following the negative experiences of the past few years.

The lessons of the past will avert the threat of bankruptcy or a new major crisis, he said, noting that the Greek people have sacrificed too much for such a risk to be taken.

Barroso expressed his conviction that there will be a swift conclusion to negotiations between Greece and its creditors.

As for Greek debt relief, he said this was unlikely ahead of federal elections scheduled to take place in Germany in September. A key condition for commitments from creditors on debt relief, he noted, is that Greece enforce economic reforms that it has legislated.

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