“Grexit scenarios are of the past, but in any case, we must continue our reforms to make our economy more competitive, more extrovert, friendly to investment and entrepreneurship,” said Development Minister Kostis Hatzidakis, addressing an event at the Greek-American Chamber of Commerce.
Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said in Parliament: “The country had reached the edge, it run the risk of exiting the Eurozone and go bankrupt. We, the three parties that support the government, are trying at the lowest possible cost -for the Greek citizen- to bring the country into a sustainable situation.
Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund is preparing to send a staff mission to Greece next month to assess the country’s performance under an austerity program backed by an international rescue, an IMF spokesman said Thursday.
The IMF mission will begin discussions in Athens with Greek and European Union officials in late February, IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said at a news briefing.
“A staff team will start discussions in Athens with the authorities, the European Commission, and the European Central Bank in late February. The purpose of the mission is to assess progress on the implementation of measures in the programme. The visit is expected to conclude around mid-March.”
Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras pledged yesterday that the government will pay debts amounting to EUR 3.5 billion by the end of March as its agreement with its creditors provides for, rising to 8 billion by year-end. According to Kathimerini, the Finance Ministry intends to pay debts to the market amounting to some EUR 8 billion by the end of the year, having already fulfilled obligations totaling EUR 962 million and expecting to pay another EUR 1.9 billion by the end of February.
The IMF released €3.2 billion euros in aid to Greece in January that had been frozen for months amid fears about the country’s ability to surmount its debt crisis.
The IMF executive board approved release of the funds after completing two reviews of Greece’s economic performance under an IMF loan programme that is part of an international rescue also supported by the European Union. Both IMF and EU have committed a total of 240 billion euros in rescue loans to Greece since 2010.
The IMF has been pushing Europe to do more to solve the Greek debt crisis, after the Fund extended its Greek rescue loan to four years from three years and lowered the interest charged on it.