President Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Thursday called for the repayment of Greece’s debt to be linked to growth, in line with a proposal by his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.
“Greece has fulfilled its obligations even for mistakes that it were not its own,” Pavlopoulos told the annual Delphi Economic Forum.
The president added that the eurozone’s real “enemy” is not the deficit but the risk of a debt crisis, noting that persisting with austerity policies that shrink economies will only make things worse.
During a session on banks, the European Central Bank’s chief supervisor Daniele Nouy said Greek banks were recovering but “still face challenges,” highlighting nonperforming loans as “a huge problem.”
Greece has the highest rate of NPLs in the eurozone, at around 50 percent, she said.
She struck an upbeat tone about the country’s medium-term prospects, however, noting that “the Greek economy is recovering.” The forum was attended by several prominent opposition politicians who commented on topics from economic policy to Greece’s institutions.
New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Greeks wanted to “escape a toxic environment and talk about the future,” adding that an ND government would lower taxes and seek to boost jobs but would also focus on reforms. “That is non-negotiable.”
He also accused the government of “unacceptable” interventions in the judiciary in an apparent reference to the Novartis bribery claims.
Former PASOK president Evangelos Venizelos also took a swipe at the government for its economic policies, saying that the cost of its term in office could over the years reach more than 150 billion euros.
He said authorities should opt for precautionary credit line after the bailout ends rather than the uncertainty and the high cost that a “clean exit” from the program would entail.