Moscovici: Greece Can Return to Markets at Reasonable Rates

Αssociated Press

FILE - Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

ATHENS (ANA) - Greece can return to markets at reasonable interest rates, EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Pierre Moscovici said during a press conference in Athens on Tuesday.

The Commissioner said it was very positive the fact that Greece is returning to markets and noted that it is an important first step after the positive developments that have taken place lately around the Greek economy. In particular, he mentioned the completion of the second review and the disbursement of the first tranche of a loan to Greece and the Eurogroup decision which further clarified the medium-term debt relief measures which will be implemented at the end of the program. He also noted the decision of the IMF to pave the way for his participation in the Greek program, which he said was a further indication of confidence in the markets. He also referred to the European Commission's decision to take Greece out of the excessive deficit procedure, as Greece presented a fiscal surplus last year, which was a great achievement.

The Commissioner said that Greece was at a turning point and that the European Commission's aim was for the country to successfully complete the program in one year from today and to become stronger. The aim of his visit to Athens, he said, was to discuss the next phase until the end of the program. "I hope", he added, "to "celebrate" here the successful completion of the program in August 2018".

Moscovici stressed that there were three conditions for Greece to successfully exit the program.


Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, left, welcomes European Commissioner for Economy Pierre Moscovici at Maximos Mansion in Athens, Tuesday, July 25, 2017. Photo: Eurokinissi/Tatina Bollari

-First, to have a common plan and vision of the EU and Greece on the road to be followed until the end of the program. It is time, he said, to close the chapter of austerity. We went through, he said, a long and difficult period, but Greece now has the means to turn a page.

-Second, to continue the implementation of the program and deliver results at the end of the program. The Commissioner said that the fiscal targets for 2018 must be met and the reforms already legislated to be implemented. The implementation he added, is not a minor issue, but it was feasible. Greece, he added, must implement the laws that were passed in Parliament so that citizens and businesses can see tangible results. Confidence was of critical importance, he said. Confidence returns, but the effort needs to be continued, he said, adding that it was a key to success.

-Third, creditors must respect the decision they reached in the Eurogroup on debt relief measures for Greece. The Commission, he said, will be there to persuade creditors to honor their commitments.

Moscovici said he believed that the IMF was a necessary partner. With regard to debt relief measures, he said that these will be implemented at the end of the program but can be agreed earlier.

Tsipras: Time to plan the conclusion of the program in August 2018

"Now is the time to plan the successful conclusion of the programme in August 2018 and the post-programme period for Greece," Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and EU Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said on Tuesday.

Αssociated Press

FILE - Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

"You are visiting Greece on a special day, it is the day that Greece successfully returns to the markets, and this is the most important message and the most essential step in concluding this unpleasant adventure of the memorandum," Tsipras said.

"The information so far is very positive," he said adding that investors have welcomed the Greek bonds.

"Now it is the time to talk about Greece's future, how we will cooperate, how we will work in order to successfully conclude the programme next year and plan the next day for Greece," Tsipras underlined.

The prime minister expressed his confidence that the European Commission will be the best ally and partner in order to successfully plan the next day for Greece.

On his part, Moscovici said: "We have achieved a lot, we have gone a long way, and we see the light now."

The Commissioner focused on a series of positive developments such the conclusion of the programme review, the IMF decision which is a sign of confidence in Greece, and the European Commission's proposal to end the excessive deficit procedure for Greece.

"Therefore," he said, "it is time to test the markets and I hope that it will be a positive procedure."

Moscovici underlined that he wants to celebrate the end of the programme in August 2018 and reassured the prime minister that the European Commission will be a dedicated partner and ally of Greece.

He also said that growth is higher than expected and estimated that it may reach 1.8 pct at least this year and 2.5 pct in 2018 adding that this will create jobs for the Greeks.