The EU’s Economy and Finance Commissioner, Pierre Moscovici, appears to be keeping his distance from the IMF’s calls for a combination of pension cuts and a lowering of the tax-free income level, as well as from the Fund’s demands for a 3.5 percent primary surplus.
The Fund also opposes government measures to counter-balance the cuts that will further devastate Greek households
Moscovici encouraged everyone, including the IMF, to work on the basis of the actual data, and maintained that the IMF should get on board the Greek programme with a realistic approach, which will be to the benefit of all, including Greece.
The Commissioner said it is time to turn a page and that everyone should work morning, noon, and night toward a brighter future for Greece, and he expressed confidence that Athens will successfully complete its current programme.
Moscovici outlined a series of steps that must be taken until summer, beginning with the successful completion of the fourth and final evaluation of implementation by creditors, and ending with a clear and viable debt relief package.
The four steps he cited are completion of 88 measures that must be implemented by May so as to conclude a staff-level technical agreement, agreement on the terms of the post-bailout fiscal supervisory regime [there can be no fourth bailout or anything that looks like one, he said], creation of a comprehensive growth plan of which Greece can claim ownership, and making sure that creditors make good on their pledge of debt relief.
As for the prospect of back-pedaling with handouts, Moscovici underlined that Greece’s commitments have been undertaken by the state, and not any particular party, and they must be honoured as such, regardless of who is in power.