ECB rejects Greece’s bailout negotiation

Tim Wallace
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THE GREEK government should stop wasting time and money trying to renegotiate its bailout deal, and focus on implementing reforms to get its economy back on a path to growth, a top European Central Bank (ECB) official said yesterday.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras wants to ease some of the tough austerity conditions attached to the €130bn (£104.3bn) bailout, due to the weak state of the economy.

But ECB executive board member Jörg Asmussen rejected the idea that a slower readjustment would help, arguing the deal is good for Greece.

“The fiscal measures under the programme have been designed to gradually restore the sustainability of public finances,” he claimed.

“If Greece were on its own, the adjustment would have to be much faster and more drastic, given that the sovereign has lost access to financial markets. So the programme is actually helping support the Greek people’s standard of living.”

Further, Asmussen stressed the injustice of any renegotiation on poorer nations.

“It is difficult to ask voters in a country where average public sector wages are around €1000 per month, like in Estonia or Slovakia, to lend to a country where those wages are on average around €3000,” he explained.

“If those countries help nonetheless, it is reasonable that, in return, they expect Greece to stick to its promises.”