Tsakalotos confident reforms will be ready in time for creditors’ report


Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said the government will implement the reforms required by its post-bailout agreement by March 11 so that the country will be able to receive aid from its creditors, according to an interview with CNBC on Wednesday.

The ECB and other eurozone central banks are holding about 4.8 billion euros of profits from Greek bonds, which they are expected to return to Athens by June 2022 in semi-annual tranches.

Tsakalotos told CNBC on Wednesday that an upcoming report on Greece's progress will be positive.

"There's still some [work] to be done to just pass legislation that has been agreed by the time of the Eurogroup of [March 11]. So the report will be favorable, it will say that we've done all this stuff,” he was quoted as saying.

“There are one or two things that have to pass through Parliament, but they are agreed legislation so it's a formality till the 11th of March Eurogroup,” he added.

He also said the 3.5 percent primary surplus target Greece has agreed to is too high for a country that lost nearly 30 percent of its GDP during the eight-year economic crisis, adding SYRIZA would support main opposition New Democracy in trying to lower the target, if elected in government.

“I think there should be consensus across the political divide on this issue. I think the 3.5 percent is too high, especially for a country that lost 27 percent of its GDP. I don’t think it should be something that we disagree about, we should go together and say in a Europe that has taken a lesson from the rise of the radical right and populist forces that such high primary surplus targets only feeds into discontent not only with the political parties but with the political process itself,” he said.

“So I have no disagreement with the leader of the opposition that we need to do this, so it would be nice if he had a less conflictual attitude so that we actually could have consensus on this issue. We wouldn’t change our position just because New Democracy was in power…in the unlikely and unfortunate eventuality that they are in power…if that was one of their main building blocks of what they wanted to do we would support them.”