Greek Central Bank Chief Warns Bailout Delay Risks Rerun of 2015

Feb 14, 2017, 00:36
Greek Central Bank Chief Warns Bailout Delay Risks Rerun of 2015

"Conditions could be much worse later; it may be too late", he said, urging both Greece and its lenders to make concessions and conclude the review by the end of the month.

The Greek government faces debt repayments of 7.0 billion euros ($7.44 billion) this summer that it can not afford without completing the current review of its bailout and unblocking new loans from the country's 86 billion euro bailout.

Greece is striving to reach a "political" deal with its worldwide lenders on all issues delaying the conclusion of a key bailout review by a February 20 Eurogroup meeting, the country's finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos said on Monday.

Greece has only recently emerged from a multi-year recession brought on by a debt crisis and the consequent austerity policies demanded in return for the bailouts.

A source close to the case said Mr Tsakalotos and Mr Dijsselbloem may meet with Pierre Moscovici, the European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, and Benoît Coeuré, a director at the Central European Bank, to try and break the deadlock next week.

"The only reason why we keep talking about Greece.is because it is symptomatic of the architectural design faults and crisis of the eurozone".

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While Greece can stay afloat without any further disbursements of bailout tranches until July, euro area officials have indicated that the stalled review must be completed before the Netherlands, France and Germany enter the final stage of their electoral campaigns this year.

Euro zone finance ministers are expected to discuss the issue in Brussels next week.

The size of next year's Greek primary surplus, which is the budget balance before debt-servicing costs, is a bone of contention between euro zone governments and the International Monetary Fund, which believes it will be only 1.5 percent.

Some investors were anxious that a failure to reach a deal on what measures Athens needed to take to receive the next tranche of its third bailout programme before the next elections in various European countries might see it risk a default in summer.

The higher the surplus and the longer it is maintained, the less the need for any further debt relief to Greece. Germany and several other euro zone countries say that if Greece does all the agreed reforms, then debt relief will not be necessary.

Tsakalotos left Friday's meeting without a precise date set for the continuation of talks with bailout auditors.