Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras attends the swearing-in ceremony of the new government at the presidential palace in Athens on November 5, 2016. (AFP photo)
’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has vowed that a bailout review needed for the country to secure funds from international creditors will be finished within weeks.
Tsipras said Sunday that Greece’s second bailout review will be concluded in time for the long-awaited debt relief talks to begin in early December.
“The negotiation can and will be concluded on time, for us to have positive decisions at the Eurogroup on December 5 … to begin talks for specific short-term, mid-term and long-term measures for Greek debt relief,” Tsipras said.
He added that finishing the review, which is aimed at restructuring Greece’s debt, could enable Athens to regain access to the European bond market by the time its current bailout expires in 2018. That would come after the European Central Bank accepts to include Greece in its quantitative easing within the first quarter of 2017. Greece is currently excluded from the asset-buying program.
The review is part of an agreement between Greece and its international creditors, namely the European Commission, the European Central Bank (ECB), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), under which Greece should carry out a series of reforms in labor and fiscal sectors in return for receiving badly-needed funds.
Tsipras took office in January 2015 on the promise of ending painful spending cuts under the controversial bailout program. However, he later bowed to pressure from the EU and the IMF and accepted deeper reforms, something which seriously affected his approval rating. He is now trying to convince the voters that years of austerity would finally bear fruit and the country could see a major economic rebirth in the future.
Athens and other cities across Greece have seen regular protests against Tsipras and his increasing kowtowing to the creditors while trade unions have called for repeated strikes.
Tsipras, however, changed a number of ministers in his left-wing government on Friday in a bid to speed up the completion of the bailout review. He also ordered other ministers to do their utmost to accelerate the process.
The IMF and European Union inspectors are due in Greece by the end of November to monitor the country’s progress in carrying out reforms in labor, unions and banking sectors.