By Vassilis Kostoulas
The current Greek government started to search for ways to alter the third bailout memorandum immediately after it was signed with institutional creditors in August 2015, according to Greece's former representative to the IMF.
In an interview with "N" this week, Thanos Catsambas, who also served as a top official at the Washington D.C.-fund, charged that this strategy demonstrated an intention, on the part of the Tsipras government, not to meet commitments entailed in the memorandum. As a result, he said, an unending process of negotiations and renegotiation over already agreed-to measures commenced.
Catsambas said this tactic caused the major delays in finalizing the second review of the Greek bailout, which was originally set for conclusion last year.
Moreover, he said the notions of a "political solution" or an "honorable compromise" are incompatible with the way institutional creditors operate.
Catsambas, who is today a non-resident senior fellow at The Atlantic Council think tank, also emphasized that "politicians receive recommendations by technocrats, not the other way around", in a direct reference to the embattled Tsipras government's repeated quips of the necessity of a "political solution" to overcome obstacles.
Beyond the narrow confines of yet another round of gasping negotiations between the Greek side and creditors, the former IMF official said it was imperative for Greece to proceed with reforms in the labor market, its tax system and the framework for investments -- with the latter aimed at boosting productivity and basing growth on a service-based economy in the country.
Additionally, he dismissed any idea that the US administration can influence the fate of the IMF's involvement in the Greek program, stressing that decisions for the approval of aid programs are taken with a simple majority, in a vote of IMF member-states. He also reminded that the US side holds only 16.53 percent of the votes on the Fund's executive board.