Former Greek PM teases fresh bailout, Commission says Greece is ‘secured’

EURACTIV was informed that no talks about a new bailout are taking place in Brussels. Pictured: European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker (L) and current Greek PM Alexis Tsipras (R). [Shutterstock]

Greece’s position at the heart of the eurozone and the EU is “secured”, according to the European Commission, following remarks made by a former Greek prime minister who claimed the country will soon seek fresh EU aid.

Greece is currently trying to find its feet after its exit in August 2018 from the eight-year bailout programme. Government officials say that the economy should now focus on pro-growth reforms and the people who have been hardest hit by the crisis.

But Kostas Simitis, a socialist politician who served as prime minister of Greece from 1996 to 2004, said in an interview on 30 December 2018 that the country would turn to the EU institutions again for additional aid.

“In the European Union, it is certain that after 2018, Greece will quickly seek lending from the European Stability Mechanism (ESM),” Simitis said.

“The inevitable consequence would be the imposition of new conditions on the economic policy of the Greek government,” he added.

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EURACTIV.com asked the European Commission if there are talks in Brussels about another bailout, as Simitis pointed out.

“We don’t comment on comments. Greece successfully concluded the three-year stability support programme last August with its place at the heart of the euro area and the European Union secured,” a Commission spokesperson said.

The EU official also referred to the Commission’s first report into “strengthened supervision” for Greece, which said that the draft budget for 2019 ensures the target of a primary surplus of 3.5% of GDP.

But sources also say that no new bailout talks are taking place in Brussels.

The Greek government reacted strongly to Simitis’ statements, ruling out any scenario for new EU aid.

“Our country will not enter into a new program, nor will it resort to ESM lending again […] the answer is being given every day by the course of the economy and the statements of EU officials,” leftist Syriza spokesperson Rania Svigkou said.

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