By Lefteris Yallouros – Athens
Reports emerged in Greece Monday indicating Athens will not sign up for a third Eurozone bailout deal – which involves accepting to implement fresh fiscal measures under a new memorandum with its lenders – unless certain terms are attached to it.
A top Finance ministry official has been quoted in the press as saying the government would be positive to a new loan, however, any arrangement would have to involve no new austerity measures but only corrective (structural) ones.
The same official also said a clandestine meeting held in Brussels last week on the future of the Greek economy and how to deal with a huge public debt was “for the good” of the country.
Meanwhile, a German government spokesman brushed away a Der Spiegel report over the weekend, according to which a third aid package of 10 or 20 billion euros could be extended to Greece in exchange for more economic reform commitments. “There is no new situation regarding Greece,” a spokesman said, and ruled out a haircut of Greece’s debt “categorically.”
It seems the plan German Finance minister Wolfgang Schauble is conjuring up to deal with Greece’s debt problem has put Athens in a position to strengthen its negotiating position against possible demands for further austerity.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and his coalition partner Evangelos Venizelos discussed the progress of Greece’s reform efforts Monday as Finance minister Yannis Stournaras readies to present a set of positive economic indicators in the coming days.
In fact, deputy Finance minister, Christos Staikouras revealed a primary surplus for 2013 will exceed all expectations.
The Greek government is gearing up for the double election battle in May (local and European Parliament elections) with a desire to go on the offensive and show its economic policy is paying off.
As the country’s Finance ministry examines possible tax cuts in 2014, the government will welcome a decision by Greece’s lenders to further reduce interest rates on its bailout loans and debt relief expected by analysts to go through in April.
If the, highly unpopular amongst Greeks, International Monetary Fund exits the troika of lenders too when a new loan of around 20 billion euros is handed to Greece, it is believed the Samaras administration will have another positive to show for in the election run up.