Cyprus’ Finance Minister Harris Georgiades has called for continuation of assistance to Greece and IMF participation.
Georgiades was speaking at a Eurogroup meeting which took place in Luxembourg on Monday.
“I hope that we will receive a good report on sufficient progress. It should be understood that Greece, the Greek economy, should become more competitive, more productive and for that we need an ambitious reform agenda. For me it is also clear that Greece is in need of substantial debt relief. Until we reach that point, the financial assistance shall continue and today, I hope, that we are able to make a step in that direction,” Georgiades said upon arrival at the Eurogroup meeting, the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) has reported.
Asked about IMF’s participation Georgiades said that it has been made very clear from IMF itself that the level of the Greek debt is not sustainable and expressed the opinion that this assessment cannot be ignored.
“We should be willing to discuss some debt relief, in one form or another, on the understanding that this is not going to be the only measure, but primarily something that will complement the ambitious Greek reform agenda, to make the economy more productive, more competitive and more efficient,” he added.
Georgiades also repeated, multiple times, that the IMF has maintained a very clear position that the Greek debt is not sustainable at its current level and that there should be some debt relief.
“I take note of this position”, said Georgiades, “I actually agree with this position and I am willing to discuss debt relief measures on the understanding that these are not going to be the only measures discussed, but something that will complement a very ambitious reform agenda to make the Greek economy productive and competitive”, he clarified.
Called on to predict the outcome of the compliance report of Greece’s prior actions, Georgiades replied that “this is something that we shall know in a while, this is what we expect to hear and we hope to hear good enough progress that will allow us to take the decision. Greece remains in difficulty and is in dire need of an ambitious agenda. The Greek economy must become efficient and productive. In the meantime, as long it does not have market access, the assistance must continue.
Georgiades strongly advocated that the IMF should be on board the Greek program and said he hopes “it will be on board, if there is some debt relief, that should be on our agenda”.
“Obviously this is a decision that should be taken collectively and we must be sure that good progress is confirmed and I have to say Greece has been making good progress in this direction and I think we ought to engage to this discussion. I hope there is strong domestic political consensus that is a prerequisite in order to drive the reform process ahead”, the Cypriot Finance Minister said.
Invited to comment on Brexit talks, Georgiades said that he thinks “we all have an interest to work in the direction of creating a new relationship between the EU and the UK, which should be as close as possible. And I think we can achieve that, in the understanding that there cannot be any benefits without any obligations. I think this is how we all operate, how we all understand the situation and on that basis, on that understanding, I do not believe a controversial approach will be needed. I believe in a cooperative approach, which will result in a very close relation with the EU.