Troika 'failing to acknowledge progress', Greek minister

'Delays in review help neither EU nor creditors'

03 December, 22:07

    Greek minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis Greek minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis

    (ANSAmed) - ROME - The counter-proposals advanced by the Samaras government to the troika of international creditors (IMF, EU, ECB) are fair and should not be changed in any substantial way, Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told ANSAmed in an interview on Wednesday. The minister of administrative reform and e-governance was in Rome to take part in a meeting of EU public administration ministers.

    ''I think,'' he said, ''that the time has come to acknowledge that Greece has carried out most of the reforms that it had to, which shows the government's will to continue in this direction.'' It is thus unfair, he added, ''to question our commitment''.

    Talks between the troika and the Athens government seem to have slid to a breaking point after the former replied via email on Wednesday morning to the proposals that the Samaras government had sent to representatives of the international creditors. The proposals contain measures the government is willing to implement to move forward a stalled review. Athens seems unwilling to go beyond a certain point, however. ''We will not accept,'' the minister said, ''additional measures.'' Due to cuts and draconian measures taken at the beginning of the crisis, ''we have made the public administration sustainable at the economic level,'' he continued. ''Now we have to make it more efficient.'' ''It is possible to discuss how to achieve the goal,'' he said, ''but the reform of the state administration is in no way in question. These are non-negotiable principles.''

    Protests continue to be held throughout Greece, nonetheless. ''In the last general strike of the public administration, only 12% took part,'' he said, adding that next week ''I will be meeting with unions to discuss the evaluation system for state employees. I am open to dialogue, but not to second thoughts on the matter.'' At the moment and for the next few months, he said Greece needs political stability ''to reassure markets and investors''. Thus, no early elections as the far-left under Alexis Tsipras would like.

    All the polls, he continued, ''tell us that the people do not want fresh elections. It would be like going backwards, rendering the sacrifices made over the past five years in vain.'' He said that the necessary support in parliament to election a new president (180 MPs out of 300, Ed.) would be found. ''Everything,'' he warned, ''will depend on independent MPs and their sense of responsibility.'' SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, he said, ''will not be able to stop us.''

    He then commented on the words of the prime minister, who on Tuesday spoke before the Greek-American Chamber of Commerce, criticizing the troika and the far-left leader and accusing them of wanting to jeopardize the country's stability. The minister noted that ''while internally no one has the right to politically destabilize the country, externally any delay in the completion of the review (by the troika, Ed.) does not help Europe, the international creditors or Greece.'' (ANSAmed).

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