Greece has «turned a corner» Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras told the Guardian on Sunday following statements by leading foreign officials that the debt-wracked country will be given more time to implement a grueling fiscal adjustment program.
“I am more optimistic … we have turned the corner. There is more trust between us and our partners but we still have a long way to go,» Stournaras told the Guardian. «We have to have cleared up everything in the next two weeks so that everything can be put on the table at the [next] Eurogroup meeting on 8 October. If we can’t clear everything there can be no agreement,» he said referring to the next installment of bailout funding, worth 31.5 billion euros, which Athens has been attempting to clinch since July.
Stournaras’s comments come after an informal summit of eurozone finance ministers in Cyprus, where International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde said lenders may agree to some sort of extension for Greece.
On Sunday, the finance minister of Austria — one of Europe’s most ardent critics against Greece being granted more slack — Maria Fekter, said that an extension is on the table, but added that Greece will not receive any additional funding from its foreign creditors — the IMF, European Commission and European Central Bank, or troika — beyond that agreed in its second bailout package.
“We are still awaiting the troika report and Greece still has to get some things on track but we will achieve a cost-neutral extension,» Fekter told the Oesterreich newspaper in reference to a progress report currently being compiled by a team of inspectors from the troika.
Stournaras told the Guardian, however, that the government remains in a race against time to agree on the details of the new austerity package with the troika and ensure the next installment of funding.