Stournaras calls for more debt relief

Considers Greek government’s economic growth targets unrealistic

In a Handelsblatt interview today, the Greek central bank chief Yiannis Stournaras called for the country’s international creditors to take decisions quickly on how to ease the ailing country’s enormous debt burden.
He suggested a few soft measures that he felt would make managing Greece’s debt burden easier, including prolonging the maturity of bonds. He also expressed his profound disagreement with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, who had said that what Greece needs is to implement the agreed upon structural reforms, not debt relief.
Stournaras stressed that decisions ought not be delayed, given that the IMF’s participation in Greece’s current aid program depends on them, and the International Monetary Fund’s involvement “would lend the program more credibility.”
In the budget it presented in November, the government had indicated that Greece would need to register primary surpluses of 0.5 percent of GDP this year, 1.75 percent in 2017 and 3.5 percent in 2018.
However, Governor Stournaras argued that the 2018 target for 3.5 percent was unrealistic, reaffirming the opinion of the IMF.
Precisely due to the disparity in assessment, the IMF had said it wouldn’t participate in the latest bailout unless a realistic solution was presented by the Europeans to substantially reduce Greece’s massive debt burden.
Sources: DW, Reuters, AFP