Greece: We need debt write-off not austerity

22 Απρ 2016

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras says the country cannot accept any more austerity measures, demanding that international lenders write off a good deal of its debt.

   "Greece... does not need extra measures. What Greece needs, is an essential debt relief," Tsipras said on Thursday.
   Greece has been in a state of economic crisis since 2009. The country has received two bailouts worth a total of €240 billion ($272 billion) from its three international creditors – the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Commission, and the European Central Bank (ECB).
   The issues currently under discussion between the two sides comprise pension reforms, tax hikes, privatizations, and the management of delinquent loans.
   EU institutions and the IMF are, meanwhile, bickering on whether the country can meet a primary surplus target equal to 3.5 percent of its gross domestic product in 2018, further slowing the approach towards an agreement that could unlock the direly-needed funds.
   Despite the premier’s insistence that the country has implemented the austerity measures as required under the terms of its international bailout agreements, a Greek government official reportedly said that Athens and the lenders had most recently made progress in negotiations on further economic reforms.
   "There was significant convergence, more than in the past days," the unnamed official said. Eurozone finance ministers are to meet in the Netherlands on Friday to assess the progress. "A good sign will be if tomorrow's Eurogroup makes an announcement that there will be a second extraordinary (Eurogroup) meeting," the government official concluded, referring to the group of eurozone finance ministers.

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