Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos told newspaper “Kathimerini” that the government was negotiating with the institutions to extend the automatic fiscal contingency mechanism (known as the cutter) beyond 2018 in an effort to reach a compromise. The Greek Finance Minister revealed that the specific measures could be identified beforehand in the event the IMF’s forecasts of a 3.5% GDP surplus were not realised.
Mr. Tsakalotos added that the government had rejected to proposals tabled by IMF officials for a reducing the tax free threshold and the current pension levels, while criticising the stance by the IMF on the Greek dent relief and its demands for the adoption of more measures. “Its (IMF) obsession for a larger debt reduction is mostly talked about than observed in reality”, he underlined. He believes the Fund could remain on the Greek program in an advisory capacity without affecting the integrity of the program.
Responding to a question regarding his recent letter to the institutions, where he promised to cut pensions if necessary, the Greek Finance Minister said that it was already known that pensions would be slashed in the event the +0.5% surplus was not realised for 2016, adding that such an outcome was unlikely. He went on to says that the IMF might be pushing for a greater debt relief, but it was also requesting the adoption of harsher fiscal measures. “I honestly do not know what the IMF wants. There are many solutions to complete the current stage of negotiations, one of which is to have the IMF as a technical advisor”, he said.