Athens, May 27, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
Profitable for all sides ( «win-win») characterizes the agreement reached at the Eurogroup, the European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moskovisi, noting that it will not only provide “oxygen” to the greek economy, it will also set the basis that will allow the IMF’s participation in the support program.
Moskovisi stresses in particular that additional prerequisites are by no means a new Memorandum and complimented the stance of Euclid Tsakalotos in the negotiation.
In an interview with German news agency MNI, Moskovisi appears confident that the IMF will participate in the greek program, because, as he says, “there is a strong will among Member States and it is now clear that there is a clear commitment from the executives of the IMF to the reform program and the rest of the greek package”.
As regards the Eurogroup decision, “it honestly turned the tables in what concerns the IMF’s attitude”, he says, noting that about eight to nine hours from the eleven the meeting lasted, were spent in trying to convince the IMF of the agreement.
Asked if the revised debt sustainability report (DSA), which will be drawn by the IMF, could be a future problem in the negotiations, as the EU and the IMF have failed to agree on the provisions of the targets for Greece, the Commissioner explains that the DSA “will be theirs” (the IMF’s), but there would have to be a close cooperation with us”.
“We will try to bridge all the gaps in order to find a common ground”, he continues, something that could prove difficult, because many European officials and the Greek government have publicly criticized the IMF for excessive pessimism in its forecasts.
The first who criticized the IMF was European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, says the MNI, but Moskovisi stresses that the Eurogroup decision is approved not only by the general director of the IMF Christine Lagarde, but also her staff.
“Ms Lagarde trusts her staff and her staff agrees. It was very important for us, for the president of the Eurogroup Jeroen Dijsselbloem and for me, the fact that Paul Thomsen was with us in the press conference, because this was a practical demonstration of commitment”, he states.
Responding to a question about whether the IMF officials have shown the same desire to remain in the greek program, Moskovisi speaks of a “common duty”.
“It is not the end of the story” and adds: “I am confident in my experience that we have no alternative but to stick together and to move towards a progressive solution for Greece. I’m sure we will have other Eurogroup, I am sure we will spend a few more nights in the Council on this issue, but I also think that the decision of the Eurogroup changed everything”.
On the criticism that the EU simply postponed the decisions on the Greek debt in 2018, the European commissioner disagrees and replies that he does not believe that “we are kicking the can further down the road”, and refers to “a decisive moment to restore confidence”.
Pierre Moskovisi notes however that there is still much work to be done, which mainly falls on the shoulders of the Greek government, which has to implement the biggest reforms in its recent history.
He rejects however, reports that want the agreement to be a new rescue plan: “No, no, no discussion”, he says and adds: “It is not at all a new Memorandum. Let there be no confusion; it is a supplement to the agreement we achieved in the Eurogroup”.
Referring to the performance of Euclid Tsakalotos during the negotiations, he said that “he is a good negotiator, constructive, serious and that everyone in the Eurogroup thanked him”. I also wish to thank him the notes, while in terms of trust in the Greek authorities he indicates that since the re-election of Alexis Tsipras the cooperation with the Greek authorities is as easy as it could be”.