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  • Incoming Eurogroup President: Debt relief after programme ends

    Athens until now has insisted that debt relief talks will commence straight on the heels of the formal political approval of the staff-level evaluation reached with creditors, at the first Eurogroup meeting of 2018, on 22 January.

    ΤοΒΗΜΑ Team

    The incoming Eurogroup president, Mario Centeno, who assumes office in January, has already dashed the government’s hopes of a debt relief deal with creditors before the completion of the ongoing, third bailout programme in August.

    In an exclusive interview with CNBC, Centeno noted that there are “some intermediate steps” before debt reprofiling talks begin between the Greek government and its creditors.

    Centeno was referring to dozens of “conditionalities” that Greece must fulfill, essentially passing legislation that enshrines the remaining terms of the third programme that Greece has already agreed to, which the government has vowed to push through parliament rapidly.

    Athens until now has insisted that debt relief talks will commence straight on the heels of the formal political approval of the staff-level evaluation reached with creditors, at the first Eurogroup meeting of 2018, on 22 January.

    Centeno, whose candidacy was supported by Greece, has at the same time called for support for Greece even after the current bailout ends in August.

    «We are in a good mood to finish it by mid-2018; August of 2018. We hope that the Greek authorities continue the outstanding work they’ve been doing in the last years to accomplish all the measures and all the targets that we have in the program,» Centeno told CNBC.

    «We hope that the Greek authorities continue the outstanding work they’ve been doing in the last years to accomplish all the measures and all the targets that we have in the program … And then, going back to this idea of reforming, having patience, what the institutions need really is to back the Greek authorities in the process after the reforms,» Centeno said.

    CNBC also interviewed Greek government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos.

    «We will have an agreement before the end of the program. This is very important for us in order to be able to refinance our debt without official sector support, I think this is a precondition in order for us to do that,» he said.

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