Greece has signalled that it will resist IMF demands on more measures especially in the area of industrial relations and the labour market as it prepares for today’s Eurogroup.
“We have made it clear that there is no chance of us accepting all that the IMF demands with regard to the measures but also with regard to labour issues,” said government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos.
Tzanakopoulos also hinted at the possibility of a political agreement on Greece by the end of the year explaining that Europe understands that it cannot withstand another flare-up of the Greek crisis when there are issues that concern Italy, a pre-election year for several European countries and the refugee crisis.
“As the Greek government, we have said from the start that we can neither legalise nor make permanent this condition of exception. And for this reason, with very specific legal, economic and political arguments, we have tried to restore collective bargaining. For us, this is equally important as avoiding any measure for mass layoffs,” he said.
He said that at Monday’s Eurogroup, if there is agreement on the short-term measures proposed by the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), a discussion on medium-term and long-term measures will begin, noting that these were directly linked to primary surplus targets after 2019.
Commenting on recent statements made by Germany’s Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble regarding Greek debt and whether this might block the Greek government’s efforts in this direction, the spokesman noted that Schaueble’s statements were also aimed at German tax payers, not just Greece and Europe.
“When he talks about debt relief he means reduction. No one is currently discussing the nominal reduction of Greece’s debt. We are talking about extensions, about interest rates and, therefore, I consider that by the end of the year we can arrive at specific medium-term and long-term measures that will be implemented after the end of the programme. And which will possibly pull primary surpluses downward,” he said.