Outgoing EWG leader: only SYRIZA gov’t really embraced reforms

Outgoing EWG leader: only SYRIZA gov’t really embraced reforms

Outgoing Euro Working Group chief Thomas Wieser has said that no other government has embraced economic reforms linked to Greece's bailout program to the extent that the current coalition led by leftist SYRIZA.

The Austrian official, who led the EWG for six years, made his assessment in an interview with Swiss Newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung in response to a reporter's question about Greece's post-bailout prospects.

After eight years of adjustment programs, Greece is not only able to stand on its feet but obliged to do so, Wieser told the newspaper.

Acknowledging that such austerity programs have an adverse impact on the domestic political system, Wieser also conceded that years of reforms have not turned Greece into Switzerland or Luxembourg but have eradicated the major imbalances and errors."

He noted, however, that major change to society has yet to come, observing that Ireland achieved progress in this area, and to a lesser extent Spain, Portugal and Cyprus.

"In Greece we don't see this yet," he said. "There is a tendency to attribute responsibility to foreign powers," he adding, underlining the importance of Greek authorities assuming full ownership of the program.

As for the initial aggressive negotiating tactics of the SYRIZA-led government, spearheaded by former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, Wieser said it was "an erroneous strategy that cost the Greek people lots of money, growth and employment."

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