Tsakalotos spoke at the 27th annual conference of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce entitled “Greece and the global disruptive environment.” During his speech, he hinted that if negotiations on the second bailout program review fail and Greece is forced to go into a fourth bailout program, the Alexis Tsipras government will call for early elections.
The Greek finance minister argued, among other things, that if the second evaluation is not completed, there will be no discussion on Greek debt relief. “Without discussion on the debt, there will not be quantitative easing. And without QE, Greece will not be allowed to borrow from the markets in late 2017, or the very beginning of 2018. So, Europeans and us, we don’t have a program that concludes with Greece going to the markets.”
Tsakalotos said that the Greek government cannot afford to implement additional austerity measures because the IMF has differences with certain European countries, implying Germany. He added that Athens has complied to the prerequisites of the agreement, yet creditors have further demands.
On the labor law reforms, an issue where there is a seemingly unbridgeable gap between Greece and creditors, Tsakalotos argued that Greece cannot be asked to implement legislation that is contrary to European Union laws.
Regarding pensions and the creditors’ proposal to move toward more pension cuts because pensions in Greece are high, Tsakalotos argued that pensions in Greece are at 65% of the EU average in expenditures for pensioners over 65 years old.