Greece says “not a Euro more”
European Union officials are urging Greece and its creditors to strike a financial aid deal for the country quickly to safeguard economic recovery. However, Athens has refused a demand from its creditors for more austerity measures.
The Greek government said it would not ask for “a euro more” from its impoverished citizens.
Failure to agree on debt relief and economic reforms raises doubts over the future of the €86 billion Greek bailout program, with new aid withheld until the talks move from deadlock.
To avoid a disaster, EU officials were urging speed with one German politician hinting the role of the International Monetary Fund – one of the major bones of contention – was no longer crucial.
“An agreement on the way forward for the Greek program is absolutely necessary. With a little effort from all stakeholders, it seems to me doable,” said European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici, hoping the deal would be accomplished before a meeting of eurozone finance ministers next Monday.
Another EU official, who asked not to be named, said it would be better to conclude negotiations soon but there was no real financial crunch.
“The liquidity situation in Greece is benign,” said the official, who has in-depth knowledge of the negotiations.
Greece and its European creditors agreed Monday to resume talks on what economic reforms the country must make next in order to get the money it needs to avoid bankruptcy and a potential exit from the euro this summer.
The creditors also hinted that they would temper their demands for budget cuts — a welcome thought for austerity-weary Greeks who have seen poverty and unemployment spike as their economy shrank by a quarter over the recent crisis-ridden years.
“There will be a change in the policy mix, if you will, moving perhaps away from austerity and putting more emphasis on deep reforms,” said Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the eurozone’s top official.
At face value, that means fewer tax rises and spending cuts and deep reforms to the country’s tax system, pensions and labor laws.
Such reforms could help the economy and generate income that the Greek government can use to push for further growth — such as through tax cuts or even spending increases.
“There could be fiscal space for growth-enhancing measures,” Dijsselbloem said.
Easing up on austerity has been a key demand of Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos. Greece’s left-wing government has lost a lot of support as it legislated for more austerity in return for the bailout cash — it’s about 15 percentage points behind the main opposition conservatives according to opinion polls.
Energy Minister George Stathakis said Monday’s agreement will mean that there will be no net increase in austerity, as any tax increases from 2019 will be offset by reductions in other forms of taxation.
how hard can you squeeze a dry sponge and still expect to get moisture from it?
“Athens has refused a demand from its creditors for more austerity measures.”
bend over time..
“Easing up on austerity has been a key demand of Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos. Greece’s left-wing government has lost a lot of support as it legislated for more austerity in return for the bailout cash”