Alt. FM N. Chountis stresses need for comprehensive deal with lenders

N. Chountis reiterated the SYRIZA government’s “red lines” and says new deal should include debt reduction

Alternate Foreign Minister for European Affairs Nikos Chountis stressed the need for a comprehensive agreement with partners and Greece’s international creditors during statements he made to private MEGA TV on Monday. He added that this deal should also include debt reduction.

“If the debt problem is not solved, all the rest cannot help the situation,” he said. Bearing this in mind, he said that the next loan installment to the IMF should not be paid, even if Greece had the money which it doesn’t. “If we do not have the money, we will not pay the IMF,” he said.

He said that the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) government would not retreat on issues such as pension reductions. “We will proceed with the implementation of our program,” he said.

Chountis was critical of German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble’s stand on Greece, stating that – apart from behaving as though he owns the Eurogroup – he has also not understood the February 20 Eurogroup agreement. Chountis points out that the agreement did not provide a pledge by Greece to implement the previous program. Instead, it called for an evaluation of a national program, a program of reforms.

He said that neither the European Commission, European Central Bank nor the International Monetary Fund can ask for changes in pensions, labor and social security issues as this is not within their jurisdiction.