Europe News

Greece Economy Minister: Concerns remain over creditor demands

Reporting by Louisa Bojesen and Julia Chatterley; Writing by Jessica Hartogs
Core of Greek debt agreement reached: Stathakis
Core of Greek debt agreement reached: Stathakis

Greece's economy minister said on Wednesday he was confident the latest debt deal struck with creditors will be completed as the country races to prevent another default, but conceded some points of concern remained.

"I think that 99 percent of what has been agreed has been practically completed... There are some extra things but I think that in the last few days we have reached more or less an agreement and everything will go through smoothly," Giorgos Stathakis told CNBC at the OECD Forum in Paris.

"There are three points remaining, there is some concern on our behalf on the fiscal issues, in 2017. But I think there will be a solution," Stathakis told CNBC. "Some issues are very sensitive, it is a very tight program until 2018 – it is frontloaded, that's why the first assessment is that important on both sides so I think people are looking at small details lately."

Last week, euro zone finance ministers agreed with Greece and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on a deal that will address Athens' requests for debt relief. Greece agreed to another round of austerity and reform measures in exchange for 10.3 billion euros ($11.42 billion) in aid.

According to media reports however, IMF senior officials later said they would not present the new proposals to the organization's executive board until more details on specific debt relief plans for the country were given.

The deal has the backing of fellow eurogroup members, with Luxembourg's finance minister telling CNBC the Greek government has "done its part" in carving out the bailout deal.

Pierre Gramegna, speaking from the OECD meeting in Paris, said, "The Greek government has done its part of the deal by passing a lot of legislation, part of which is very drastic for the people of Greece, which we must recognize. So I think we're moving ahead and Grexit is now not an option," he said, referring to fears Greece might exit the single currency.

Better roadmap agreed for Greece: Stathakis
Better roadmap agreed for Greece: Stathakis
ECB has crucial role to play: Greece's Stathakis
ECB has crucial role to play: Greece's Stathakis

Gramegna, who attended the Greek bailout negotiations, told CNBC the countries sharing the euro are keen for the IMF to continue playing a role in supporting Greece.

"We all wish that the IMF stays on board and it's very difficult to predict the future… What we've seen, for example, is that the economic results of Greece, although not fantastic in 2015, were slightly better than forecast," he said. "So one has to monitor this situation short term and medium term and not make decisive steps taking into account the very long term that nobody knows," said Gramegna.

Valdis Dombrovskis, the European Commission's vice-president for the euro and social dialogue, was also present at last week's negotiation table. He told CNBC on Wednesday that the deal is "subject to Greece fulfilling all the conditions and implementing all the necessary prior actions to unlock this second tranche".

"Now, we're making progress on this – yes, indeed, there has been some back and forth but I would say broadly, things are on track and I think it's still very realistic that we will be disbursing in the nearest time," he said, in reference to the funds the beleaguered country is set to receive.

"There is a framework… a road map which we agreed. Part of the story is obviously the completion of the first assessment – a better framework for an agreement on the long term public debt plus a road map on how the economy will return to growth – so we are at this very turning point, most of the elements are there – this will encourage investors on the medium term, with the agreement on debt that will open up the space on long term investors as well," said Stathakis.

Greece is due to get the second tranche of its third bailout package in several installments – the first being in June.

Greek people stage a protest against the government's austerity policy at the Sintagma square in Athens, Greece on May 22, 2016.
Ayhan Mehmet | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

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