Greece will not pass any more revenue-raising measures beyond what is agreed in its bailout package, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was quoted as saying on Wednesday, as a stand-off with international lenders ground on.
A review of the country’s bailout reforms is currently stalled over differences on fiscal targets as well as labour and energy reforms. Euro zone finance ministers were expected to discuss Greece at a meeting in Dublin on Thursday, but no conclusion to the bailout review was expected.
“We have categorically stated that there is no case of legislating even a euro’s worth of additional measures beyond those outlined in the (bailout) agreement, and particularly not for the post-programme period,” Tsipras told the I Efimerida Ton Syntakton daily in an interview.
Greece signed up to a bailout agreement worth up to 86 billion euros ($92 billion) in 2015 – its third since 2010.
EU lenders want Greece to achieve and maintain a primary surplus – after interest payments – of 3.5 percent of GDP beyond 2018, when its programme ends.
The IMF, which is currently not a participant in the most recent bailout package, says that unless Athens adopts more austerity measures and legislates them upfront the surplus will only reach 1.5 percent.
Greece has offered to extend until 2019 a contingency mechanism which would automatically cut outlays to keep fiscal targets but has ruled out anything more permanent, including legislating measures.
“Any demand to legislate additional measures, with an element of conditionality, is not only alien to the Greek constitution, but to the rules of democracy,” Tsipras said.
Tsipras’s left-wing Syriza party swept to power two years ago promising to end austerity, but was forced to cave in months later as the country veered on the brink of bankruptcy and toppling out of the euro zone.
It is now trailing the Conservative opposition New Democracy in opinion polls, a fact which occasionally raises speculation of early elections. Tsipras said it was not being considered.
“What would be the purpose of elections now? I’m not even sure New Democracy really means it, it makes the call because it is obliged to.”