Rehn: Greece has accomplished a lot the last two years

Rehn: Greece has accomplished a lot the last two years

The Finn Commissioner praises the Greek government, but stresses that there are delays in its collaboration with the troika

The past few years Greece has achieved a lot in financial and structural reforms, European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn acknowledges, but expresses reservations about the country’s exit to the markets before the European elections. He argues that delays in collaboration with the troika come from Greece’s side and the official Greek figures will be available late April.
"In Greece things are always complicated and take a long time. The current assessment has lasted for months. The delays are charged to the Greeks," Rehn said in the German economic review WirtschaftsWoche to be released Monday, explaining why the debate on Greece will begin in August. "We need to carefully collect all figures. We need to update our estimates, to get a truly accurate picture of the development prospect that has great impact on the debt sustainability. We must consider the implementation of the current program as well, which is at a critical point."
The Finn Commissioner says that he has not yet developed immunity to frustration, although he lives these delays for four years now. "It's sad. Especially the first two years there was a lack of national unity and interests resolutely defended their privileges. But Greece has achieved a lot in financial issues and reforms over the last two years. Now it needs to maintain the momentum in both fields. The labour market needs to be reformed and privatizations must advance."
Invited to comment on statements that Greece could return to the markets even before the European elections with a new bond, he answers, "if one pays a high interest, they can always return to the markets. Greece issued T-bills in the past again and again. The markets, however, may not be the most significant source of funding, as the country has entered a sustainable path in its budget and development."
He also says he is convinced that the IMF will remain in the troika, despite differences in the past. "Despite some tensions, the partnership is working well and will continue in the countries that are currently in the program. A year ago there was great tension. I talked many times with Christine Lagarde and Mario Draghi then. Each of the three has his own economic approach and is very proud of his independence. When all three institutions are asked to come to an agreement even with unanimity as a principle it is not always easy. But the crisis leaves us no choice."

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