NEWS

Signing pact with OECD, Tsipras says non-disbursement would suggest foul play

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras pledged Thursday that his government will pursue reforms in line with commitments to Greece’s creditors after signing an agreement with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development aimed at putting the ailing economy back on track.

In a news conference in Paris with OECD chief Angel Gurria, Tsipras struck a rather conciliatory tone after days of tensions between Greece and the so-called “institutions,” expressing his intention to honor pledges to the latter while also seeking the OECD’s “stamp on the reforms that the Greek government wants to push on with.”

In a statement on its website, the OECD said that it and Greece “agreed today to work together on the design and implementation of the structural reforms needed to ensure inclusive and sustainable economic growth.” Those reforms are to include boosting job creation, slashing the red tape that hampers businesses and boosting efficiency in public administration while “disrupting oligopolies and cartels through greater competition and product market reform.”

Tsipras underlined the need to deal with “historically rooted injustices and the inefficiencies of our economic system.”

In answering a reporter’s question, he also made it clear that Greece is keen to secure crucial rescue funding. “If there is no disbursement, this means someone wants to undermine the agreement,” he said. Earlier he had stressed that even if Athens does not secure the release of funding, it will meet its obligations. As regards the restrictions to liquidity from the European Central Bank, Tsipras said he did not feel he had a noose around his neck, noting that Greece was determined to reform “for the first time.”

Tsipras also repeated calls for debt restructuring, which he said “is absolutely vital.”

The premier is due in Brussels Friday for talks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Parliament President Martin Schulz.