New Greek Premier Alexis Tsipras’ hopes of getting debt relief for the beleaguered economy were crushed again when the head of the Eurozone’s relief fund said it must be repaid in full.
Tsipras, the head of the Radical Left SYRIZA party, had campaigned on a promise he would get a big cut in the 240 billion euros ($272.5 billion) Greece owes the troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) but that looks like it won’t happen.
“Greece must pay back these loans in full. That’s what we expect and nothing has changed in that regard,” Klaus Regling, head of the European Stability Mechanism, told German business daily Handelsblatt.
He dismissed out of hand Tsipras’ former demand to cut the debt at least in half. “The new Greek government’s communication has, at times, been irritating in recent days,” snapped Regling, joining German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble in slapping down the new coalition in Greece.
Tsipras’ demand for a debt cut contradicts the agreement the Eurozone made on Feb. 20, in which Athens reassured its Eurozone partners it would fulfill its obligations to all of its creditors, Regling said.
He said a debt cut was neither necessary economically nor feasible politically. He said that he was “extremely concerned” about the new government’s attempts to steer a different political course to the previous government, which had been implementing reforms and seen the economy return to growth.
He added that Greece needed to revamp its public administration, health system, labour market and pension system in return for European solidarity.
Regling also said Athens’ behavior was “unacceptable” when it accused Spain and Portugal of conspiring against Greece. Germany is the biggest contributor to the bailouts but demanded big pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed pensions and worker firings in return and regularly lectures Athens on what to do.Source: The National Herald