Stournaras: Greece, lenders must show ‘realism, flexibility’ in bailout review


Greece and its foreign lenders must both show "realism and flexibility" to swiftly complete a review of the country's bailout program, Greek Central Bank Governor Yannis Stournaras has said.

The review has dragged on for months amid disagreements on labor reforms and fiscal targets and a rapid conclusion would "strengthen the forecast for Greek economic growth from 2017 onwards," Stournaras told a conference Wednesday, according to a transcript of his speech.

Stournaras spoke ahead of a meeting of eurozone finance ministers on Thursday, although eurozone officials have already ruled out reaching a deal on the review there. One said on Wednesday creditors could approve its completion in February.

Greece wants to wrap up the review soon in order to participate in the European Central Bank's quantitative easing program within the first quarter.

"A necessary precondition for economic recovery is primarily the completion of the second review and determined implementation of the structural reforms outlined in the new [bailout] program," Stournaras said.

"At the same time, special emphasis should be given to removing obstacles to privatizations that have already been agreed and the further promotion of the privatization program and utilization of public assets."

Privatization has been a key condition of Greece's international bailouts since 2010, but political resistance and bureaucratic snags mean few have gone ahead so far.