European Commission mission chief for Greece’s bailout program, Declan Costello (photo), reportedly confirmed that a “firm supervisory framework for many years, in conjunction with reforms, will apply in Greece” for many years to come.
Speaking to Dutch MPs earlier this week, Costello said there are many challenges connected to Greece’s quest to achieve sustainable long-term growth and “serious problems” to be addressed. He added that the issues of debt relief and dealing with non-performing loans were still pending.
The official also warned that delays are being observed in the implementation of the agreed privatization plans.
Speaking on Alpha television on Thursday evening, Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said Costello was right to point out that there supervision will not cease overnight at the end of the bailout program. “It will be gradually lessened”, the Greek minister said, adding, however, that many within Europe are against further austerity. Moreover, he reiterated his view that Athens will not need a precautionary credit line at the end of the program.
Tsakalotos vowed that taxation in Greece will be lowered by 3.5 billion euros over the next 5 years due to the fiscal space created from economic recovery.
On behalf of the International Monetary Fund, Deputy Spokesman William Murray responded to comments made by Declan Costello too. He said he doesn’t want to make assumptions on how the Fund’s relation with Greece will evolve in a decade from now. The spokesman also called, yet again, for Greece’s debt problem to be addressed, in order for the Fund to make a final decision to remain in the Greek progam.
Meanwhile, an encouraging report by the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) was issued on Thursday, showing economic sentiment moving higher in January. IOBE said the index continued moving higher for the second successive month remaining at its highest levels since November 2014. The report noted that the Greek economy has entered a period of stabilization and anticipation of a new direction in the last few months./IBNA