Roundup: European commissioner urges for Greek debt relief deal by year end

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, July 19, 2016
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European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs Pierre Moscovici urged for an agreement on the further relief of the Greek debt burden by the end of this year with the International Monetary Fund (IMF)'s involvement during a visit to Athens on Monday.

The sustainability of the Greek debt and IMF's future role in the Greek bailout program were on the agenda of discussions that the Commissioner had with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and cabinet ministers in Athens.

"We need to reach a positive agreement on that, involving the IMF by the end of the year," Moscovici said during a joint press briefing with Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos at the EU representation offices in the Greek capital after his meeting with Tsipras.

He stressed that it was in the interest of all parties to have IMF fully on board supporting the efforts to restore growth in Greece.

"Almost a year after the agreement on the third bailout program, it is time for Greece to turn the page and to move beyond the crisis... It is time for normality, stability, for implementation and investments," the EU commissioner said, underlining that Grexit is no longer on the table.

In statements to the press after talks with the Greek prime minister as well as during a speech at the Greek parliament, Moscovici praised the Greek government and people for the progress achieved within a year, but warned that more needs to be done and there should be no backtracking in the implementation of the needed reforms.

Both the EU official and Tsipras agreed on the need to accelerate the process to complete the second review of the Greek program in autumn and decide on specific measures to ease the Greek debt, according to an announcement issued by the Greek leader's office.

"We are moving in the right direction," Moscovici said, according to Greek national news agency AMNA.

The EU commissioner shared Athens' confidence that Greece will return to growth in the second half of 2016, but did not side with Greece on its request for the reduction of targets for primary surpluses after 2018.

Such discussion is premature, he said in a press conference.

For his part, the Greek finance minister said that Athens will anyhow raise the issue linking it to the debt relief talks and requested in general more flexibility.

"There is a contradiction having institutions demanding that they have the micromanagement of the entire program and in parallel asking for a Greek ownership of the program," Tsakalotos said.

"I will help to the benefit of Greece," Moscovici pledged to Greek lawmakers.

Following the attack in Nice last week and the failed military coup in Turkey, the European commissioner and his Greek hosts also commented on these alarming developments.

"We are closely monitoring events in the neighboring country... I hope that our neighbors will soon return to stability," Tsipras said, noting that with the addition of Brexit, the past month has been very difficult for Europe. Enditem

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