Greek PM refers to optimistic scenario of debt relief, 'investment tsunami' and even tentative market return

Wednesday, 17 May 2017 23:00
UPD:23:09
Eurokinissi/ΚΟΝΤΑΡΙΝΗΣ ΓΙΩΡΓΟΣ

Tsipras again pointed to Monday's Eurogroup meeting as the venue for whatever debt relief measures, in off-the-cuff statements to reporters in Parliament on Wednesday (file photo).

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By G. Kampourakis
gkamp@naftemporiki.gr 

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras appeared optimistic on Wednesday over pending developments regarding debt relief measures for the bailout-dependent country, a prospect that his embattled coalition government needs to present as a "strategic success" in a desperate bid to overturn its collapsing popularity.

Moreover, in even bolder forecasts, the leftist Greek prime minister referred to an "investment tsunami" flowing into recession-battered Greece when the second review of the Greek program is concluded, something expected to occur next week. He also cited a possible foray into the markets over the summer to cover the Greek state's borrowing needs. Such a prospect would come more than seven years after the ongoing economic crisis first erupted from a sovereign debt crisis, which in turn generated three bailouts and three bank recapitalizations.

Tsipras again pointed to Monday's Eurogroup meeting as the venue for whatever debt relief measures, in off-the-cuff statements to reporters in Parliament on Wednesday.

The Greek premier spoke in Parliament as part of a debate on a draft omnibus bill that fulfils creditors' most recent demands for guarantees to meet annual fiscal targets until at least 2021. The "guarantees" come in the form of pension cuts in 2019 and an expansion of the tax base - downwards - as of 2020.

In a bid to deflect sharp opposition criticism and falling popularity, as shown by successive opinion polls, the leftist-rightist government has included what it calls countervailing measures in the draft legislation - mostly increased welfare spending, but also tax breaks. The latter would be activated only if primary budget surplus targets are met and if creditors sign off on the measures.

In putting forth a positive spin ahead of Thursday's vote for the latest austerity package, Tsipras said the feedback he's receiving over debt relief "is too good to be true ... it's so positive that I might be forced to wear a tie, in fact."

The more casually attired Greek leftist has previously joked that he'll wear a tie if his government achieves debt relief.  

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