Just as Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras began celebrating the completion of the third bailout memorandum review and predicting a clean exit from the last programme, along comes European Central Bank President Mario Draghi to raise the spectre of a fourth bailout deal.
Responding to a journalist’s question, Draghi told Deutsche Welle that is up to the Greek government to decide whether it needs a fourth programme.
He said that if the Greek government determines that the economy has weaknesses that must be addressed, it will be the one to decide.
While top EU officials, such as Finance Commissioner Pierre Moscovici have spoken of an exit in August, when the current programme formally ends, as has the Greek government, the degree of supervision and oversight mechanisms have not been decided.
The same stands for the possible need for a security credit line for Athens – which the government so far appears to have dismissed, to ensure a smooth return to the markets next year.
Amidst a huge popular and media outcry over the disastrous impact of over-taxation on households and the economy, Draghi noted that liquidity depends on the economic policies of governments, and how markets, in turn, react to those policies.
Draghi also underlined the importance of the independence of the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) and the trustworthiness of its data, when asked about the prosecution of its former president, economist Andreas Georgiou, who supervised the transformation of the bureau into an independent authority.
Georgiou was prosecuted for allegedly intentionally inflating the Greek deficit figures, by including the deficits of utility companies, allegedly in violation of international practice.Top EU officials and Eurostat have publicly come to Georgiou’s support, denouncing the prosecution as unjust.