Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said that Greece won’t be able to achieve its primary surplus budget target when the current bailout program expires in 2018, reports the Wall Street Journal. “We guarantee that we are going to reach the (3.5 percent primary) surplus, even if we have to use the fiscal brake, but only once in 2018,” said Tsipras late Wednesday during a briefing of journalists on the plane while traveling from China to Athens at the end of his five-day official visit to Beijing.
The third rescue program that Greece is applying requires Greece to increase its primary surplus to 3.5 percent of the GDP by 2018 and maintain. Greece legislated a fiscal-mechanism to automatically cut state spending if the country misses its fiscal targets. Tsipras referred to the target as a “joke” and a “fairy tale.”
The International Monetary Fund believes that Greece won’t be able to achieve surpluses of more than 1.5 percent over the coming years. In May, Eurozone finance ministers and the IMF struck a deal that paved the way for fresh loans.