PM Tsipras Confirms Greece Plans To Repay IMF Loans Earlier



Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (R) in an interview with ANT1 journalist Nikos Chatzinikolaou on Monday evening

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced on Monday that Greece plans to repay its more expensive IMF loans earlier than it needs to, in order to ”create favorable conditions for its economy.”

According to officials, Greece plans to repay the loans which are set to expire in 2019 and 2020, which are the most expensive in terms of interest rates. Greece will ask the European Stability Mechanism this week to authorize the early payment, with hopes that the move will send a positive signal to global markets.

In an-hour long interview with prominent journalist Nikos Chatzinikolaou on ANT1 news, Tsipras highlighted that Greece is now gaining back its economic freedom, following the country’s emergence from the last bailout program in August 2018.

For this reason, the Prime Minister insisted that, if he stays in power after the next general elections, his government will not implement the already-agreed upon reduction of the country’s tax-free threshold. This would increase the amount of tax that low-income employees have to pay.

When asked about about the time of the next general election in Greece, Tsipras repeated that his intention is to hold national elections at the end of his government’s term, in October of 2019.

Concerning the Prespa Agreement, Tsipras said that this was a good opportunity to resolve a dispute that began nearly thirty years ago. The premier stressed his belief that the agreement has achieved the best possible outcome for Greece.

“We used to call people in North Macedonia by the name of their capital, ”Skopjans,” Tsipras said, emphasizing that his government implemented a policy and signed an agreement which respected Greece’s national red lines, which have existed since 2004.

Tsipras accused the New Democracy party and its leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis of  an ”extreme opposition stance, adopting conspiratorial theories and claiming secret exchanges in return for a deal.”

When asked about Turkey, the Greek premier said that Athens wants ”a neighbor with political stability and open channels of communication,” expressing his concern about whether Turkey might turn its back on the alliances to which it now belongs. This was seen as a reference to Turkey’s membership in NATO.

You can watch the full interview in Greek here: