Athens.- (GreekNewsOnline, ANA-MPA)
The government’s plan is the further strengthening of the economy’s growth dynamic, the protection of the people of labour and the salaries increase in order nobody to be left alone again before the crisis, underlined Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in a post on his twitter account on Saturday.
“Our plan is clear, to assume the necessary initiatives in order the growth dynamic of the Greek economy to be further supported, to protect the people of labour. The salaries increase in order nobody of our co-citizens to be left again alone in the crisis” wrote Tsipras and posted a video from his speech in parliament on the economy.
The head of the euro zone’s emergency bailout fund, Klaus Regling, warned that markets and investors will be watching Greece closely, and any deviations from the policies that Athens has committed to might bring about further financial problems.
“Greece has committed itself to continue on a reform path. Otherwise, some of the recently approved debt relief measures could be rendered useless,” Regling said told German newspaper Handelsblatt.
It is a critical time for Greece, given that it is set to end its third bailout program in August. The future of the country after the program ends is becoming a more contentious issue by the day — not only because the exit date, August 20, is fast-approaching, but mostly because there is an election due at some point before October 2019 and the coming months will be critical to attract voters.
Main opposition New Democracy (ND) shadow Defense Minister Vassilis Kikilias said that his party insists on the request for elections ‘right now’ because as soon as this government leaves the taxation will be reduced and the economy will reverse with better conditions, speaking to SKAI TV on Saturday.
“Those (government) who voted the cuts in pensions and the reduction of the tax free are political imposters and deceive the Greeks” Kikilias said.
Greece’s opposition party, New Democracy, is angry after the European Commission made comments that its leaders believe could potentially help the current government in an upcoming general election.
Thus, comments Tuesday from Pierre Moscovici, the European commissioner for economic affairs, that “commitments must be honored but they are not rigid” were not well received by the Greek opposition. His remarks referred to planned pension cuts due next January and suggested that the Syriza party government could potentially soften them, even though these measures have already been legislated.
Such a message could be seen as supportive for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras as he can then argue that the third bailout was a success — unlike previous ones — and that he is now in a position where his government can even reverse some of the austerity cuts.
“In just six months from now, Greek pensioners and taxpayers will pay a 5.1 billion euro ($5.9 billion) bill that the Syriza government has agreed to with Commissioner Moscovici and our creditors. On top of 14.5 billion euros in austerity measures already signed and delivered (by the Greek government),” a source close to opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who didn’t want to be named, told CNBC via email.
“If this was not enough, primary surplus targets of 3.5 percent of GDP until 2022 and 2.2 percent on average until 2060, as well as quarterly reviews of the Greek economy — (this is) exceptionally heavy supervision! This is clearly not a clean exit, no matter what you call it,” the source said.
The view from within the center-right New Democracy party is that Greece will still be under the supervision of European creditors and will be forced to comply with established financial commitments.
Greece promised European creditors that it would reach certain financial targets including a primary budget surplus of 3.5 percent in the next 4 years and of 2.2 percent in the 37 years after that. If Greece doesn’t achieve these goals then some of the debt relief it received under the bailout program might no longer materialize in the future.
Speaking in parliament Thursday, Tsipras said the center-right leader Mitsotakis was only upset with Moscovici’s comments because there was no fourth bailout program that could damage the government’s reputation.
In comments to the 24/7 radio station, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos accused ND of “hypocrisy” for its stance over plans for further pension cuts in January 2019. ND leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis and vice president Costis Hatzidakis demanded explanations after European Monetary Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said there could be some flexibility on austerity measures due to come into effect after Greece’s third bailout ends in August.
Hatzidakis asked Moscovici to be clear on whether planned cuts will be revoked so ND can update its economic program.