When Greece arrives at an agreement with the institutions “the policy mix will be far better than some in the opposition had hoped for, in order for the government to suffer political wear, but also from the assumptions made by much of the media,” government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said on Sunday.
In an interview with the Greek radio station ‘Alpha 989’, Tzanakopoulos said that current conditions made it possible to reach an agreement with the institutions – both on a staff-level agreement (SLA) and on the positive measures and reforms going forward – before the Eurogroup on March 20. This was the goal of the Greek government and the institutions involved, he added, and would open the way for a discussion on Greece’s debt and the size of primary surpluses, leading to a comprehensive agreement.
The mistake that Greece must now avoid repeating, as had been happening for many years in the negotiations on the Greek programme, Tzanakopoulos said, was to rush under the pressure of time and the uncertainty caused by a failure to complete the review and postpone the problem for two, three, four or five months later.
“At this time, the central goal must be a comprehensive solution that will finally open the way for a final exit from the memorandums,” he said.
This would require calmness and a more low-key tone from the opposition at home, the spokesman added, though noting that main opposition New Democracy appears not to share this view. “We must all understand that the Greek economy needs a comprehensive agreement that will final untie the various Gordian knots that have accompanied the Greek programme since the start of the crisis,” he said.
Regarding the policy mix, he said this would include more austerity and reforms but also equivalent measures counteracting this, either in the form of lower taxes or by increasing social spending, in order to create a socially sustainable and balanced fiscal mix.
Asked about the issues now under negotiation, Tzanakopoulos singled out that of labour market reforms, where he said Europe must “assume its political responsibilities. According to the spokesman, the IMF was demanding things that are “outside the European social model, violate the European Charter of Fundamental Rights and cannot therefore be accepted, not just by Greece but also by Europe, to the extent that Europe wants to continue respecting itself.”
“In this sense, there are discussions on all levels and we will strive for the greatest possible consensus in order to support our positions about the need to restore collective bargaining and the need to re-regulate the labour market in Greece,” he said.