Athens, January 12, 2016/ Independent Balkan News Agency
By Zacharias Petrou
Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos began his tour of European capitals for talks with counterparts with a fruitful meeting with French Finance Minister Michel Sapin on Sunday before meeting Finnish counterpart Alexander Stubb on Monday.
Tsakalotos’s aim is to secure support in the Greek governemnt’s reform effort and its push for debt relief talks to begin. Athens found an ally in Sapin, yet again as Tsakalotos began his round of meetings in the friendliest of capitals for Greece.
“I was convinced that the Greek government is determined to respect its commitments on all of the subjects,” Sapin told a news conference. “The faster that we can speak about the question of Greece’s debt the better it is for everyone,” Sapin added.
Euclid Tsakalotos revealed he was “quite confident” that the first review of the country’s reform program could be wrapped up quickly, clearing the way for discussions on Greece’s debt. “It’s absolutely critical for us that since we’ve done so much to gain this credibility that this is acknowledged,” Tsakalotos said. “I think that we will get there in the end.”
Finnish Finance Minister A. Stubb said on Monday during a joint press conference with Tsakalotos that Greece is now going in the right direction and new unpleasant surprises are not expected. Stubb also told reporters that it was still too early to say what Finland was ready for in terms of the possible Greek debt relief.
On his part, the Greek Fin Min said the vicious negative cycle of the Greek economy in the past few years had turned to a positive one now that Grexit is out of the question.
Supportive words towards the Greek reform effort also came from the European Central Bank ahead of Thursday’s Eurogroup meeting in Brussels that will discuss Greece.
“The Greek government demonstrated a certain degree of commitment to delivering on its mandate to implement the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which was agreed last August with the other euro-area governments,” the European Central Bank’s Monetary Policy Strategy division head Rasmus Rueffer said in an interview over the weekend.
“I trust that this commitment prevails and that the first review will be concluded within a reasonable time frame” Rueffer added.