Finance minister, House speaker lash out at budget office claims

Finance minister, House speaker lash out at budget office claims

Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos and House speaker Nikos Voutsis on Tuesday responded to claims made the previous day by the head of Parliament’s State Budget Office (PBO) warning that Greece faces economic collapse unless international creditors grant it significant debt relief.

“Without a serious lightening of the debt Greece will be bankrupt,” PBO chief Panagiotis Liargovas said on Monday, pointing to the PBO’s quarterly report, which found that Greece’s interest payments will skyrocket after 2020 to reach 84.3 billion euros in the six years from 2021 to 2026 alone.

“It is a mistake,” Tsakalotos told Efimerida ton Syntakton newspaper, adding that the PBO report is based on “outdated figures” leading to the “wrong conclusions.”

Voutsis also accused the PBO of using old data and fear mongering.

“Reinforcement and support of the need for debt restructuring, and this at a crucial time when the Greek government has initiated the relevant negotiations with the institutions and is expecting positive developments soon, cannot be done with inflated data from tables using 2013 figures and with threats of bankruptcy,” Voutsis said.

“I am surprised at the use of invalid data and the ensuing public relations stunts,” added the Parliamentary speaker, who is responsible for the PBO.

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