A task force consisting of members of the European Parliament that belong to the European People’s Party met recently during a three day visit to Athens with various Greek officials, including Minister of Finance Euclid Tsakalotos, the Governor of the Bank of Greece Ioannis Stournaras, the newly-elected leader of Greece’s conservative New Democracy party Kyriakos Mitsotakis, as well as with representatives of the European Union and the IMF.
The task force has been assigned with the responsibility of providing a review of countries under bailout programs that is independent of that undertaken by the troika of the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund.
The members of the European Parliament recognized the sacrifices that Greece has made, but stressed the need for ongoing reforms before the economy can recover.
According to this task force, overhauling the Greek pension system is critical for putting the country’s financial condition in order as it was pointed out that Greece devotes 10% of its GDP towards pension benefits, which is about four times higher than in the European average.
Greece therefore must decide on the model of pension system that it wants to pursue, said the members of the European Parliament task force, as the current one is simply unsustainable.
The members of the task force, which included Giorgos Kyrtsos, said that they spoke to open-minded officials and feel that the negotiations talks between the Tsipra’s Syriza-led government and the country’s international creditors will proceed with no problems.
The members of the European Parliament from the European People’s Party also said that they are in support of IMF’s inclusion in the new bailout for Greece.