Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday sought to play down speculation about a possible government reshuffle in the coming weeks and attempted to shift the focus to the prospects for Greek debt relief.
“We had a reshuffle recently. Now is the time to move forward as quickly as possible,” he told reporters at the Education Ministry, where he outlined his government’s plans for an overhaul of the education system.
“We are closer than ever to a substantial solution on debt relief,” Tsipras said, though he refused to divulge any details, noting that talks were continuing between Greek and foreign officials ahead of a scheduled Eurogroup summit on May 22.
Tsipras also sought to respond to criticism from the political opposition, which has accused the government of effectively signing a fourth loan agreement but with no additional funding.
“It is the first time in the years of the memorandum upheaval that we are finishing a review and not implementing measures so we can get funding but getting funding while committing to implement measures at a later date,” Tsipras said.
In fact, the funds that will be dispensed to Greece following the conclusion of the second review are linked to measures pledged by the government as part of the country’s third bailout commitments, not to the additional measures agreed for 2019-2020.
A bill detailing those measures, which include pension cuts and tax increases, is to go to a vote in Parliament next week.
New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Tuesday accused the government of saying “yes to everything” – a phrase used during parliamentary votes – noting that ND was “saying no to fear and poverty.”