Fellow Eurozone member Finland is ready to discuss extensions of Greece’ bailout program if new Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras agrees to structural reforms.
That was the word from Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb who said Tsipras, the SYRIZA Radical Leftist leader who opposes the austerity terms of international lenders, would also have to keep forging ahead with reforms.
“We will not forgive loans but we are ready to discuss extending the bailout program or maturities … But this will not change the fact that Greece must continue economic reforms,” Stubb told reporters, setting a tough condition for Tsipras who was elected on the back of opposing them.
Stubb said he considered Greece’s loan conditions, which included lower interest rates and a longer repayment period, already very affordable and did not see room for any significant change.
“We respect the democratic election result, but we will also stick to what has been agreed earlier…. one must remember that the whole euro crisis started from breaking of rules,” he said in a shot at the defeated coalition of former premier Antonis Samaras’ New Democracy Conservatives and partner the PASOK Socialists.
With wild spending sprees for decades and runaway patronage hires, the two once-dominant powers of Greece had largely created the crisis that required 240 billion euros ($306 billion) in two bailouts from the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) that demanded harsh austerity measures.
Finland was the only euro state to demand collateral for a bailout loan for Greece in 2012 following a rise of its Euro-sceptic party The Finns, formerly known as True Finns.
Stubb’s left-right coalition government faces a general election in April and he’s reluctant to allow Greece to walk away from a big chunk of its debt, which would pass on the cost to taxpayers in the other 18 Eurozone countries.