Ahead of yet another crucial Eurogroup meeting for Greece, the European Financial Affairs Commissioner has strongly backed the country to reach an agreement with its international creditors to close a difficult bailout program review.
In an interview with Greek Sunday newspaper, Nea Selida, Pierre Moscovici praised the Syriza-led Greek government for implementing tough reforms and following through on its commitments in a series of policy areas ranging from pensions and social security to taxation reform.
The European Commission is thought to be leading a drive to bridge the gap between the International Monetary Fund and a group of Eurozone member-states led by Germany on how to address Greek debt. The issue has further complicated the completion of a review of the Greek bailout program.
Last week Greek parliament ratified a final set of prior actions demanded by creditors. These included freezing pensions until 2022 and sidestepping a mandatory return to collective bargaining negotiations.
Moscovici pointed out that it is now time creditors followed through on their commitments too. The Commissioner said that the last Eurogroup meeting in May came close to an agreement, setting the basis for a deal on June 15. He added that this will be in the interests of both Greece and the Eurozone as a “difficult and long chapter” will close.
The Commissioner had high praise for Greek premier Alexis Tsipras. He said he “likes and respects” the prime minister whose party has proved since the summer of 2015 that it can take difficult decisions that benefit the people of Greece.
Moscovici went on to mention that the functioning of the Eurogroup as an institution needs some reforming to enhance transparency. This position is supportive of Greece as the country’s government has flagged the issue of the increased influence the German Finance Minister – a staunch opponent of Greek debt relief – enjoys over the group./ΙΒΝΑ