Athens quicker to nix reforms than make proposals: Moscovici

18th May 2015, Comments 0 comments

Debt-wracked Greece is quick to turn down proposals by its creditors aimed at helping to solve its financial woes, but slow to offer alternatives, Europe's commissioner for economic affairs said Monday.

"They are more eager to say what they don't want to keep in the programme than to propose alternatives," Moscovici told a news conference in Berlin, while insisting that "some progress" had been made in recent days.

Greece's new radical Syriza-led government and its EU-IMF creditors have been stuck in a deadlock for four months over the reforms needed to release a final 7.2 billion euros ($8.2 billion) in bailout funds.

With the current Greek bailout programme scheduled to expire at the end of June, Moscovici insisted that the talks needed to make quicker progress.

"We have limited time now and there is still a very important job to be done," he said.

"The time left to reach an agreement at staff level is very limited," Moscovici said, noting Athens's coffers were empty.

He insisted that "an outcome remains possible".

"The only scenario we consider at the Commission is a strong Greece in the eurozone," he said.

"Nobody is working on others. We all consider that it's possible to reach an agreement."

Earlier in Brussels, a spokesman for European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Magaritis Schinas, said that "constructive contacts are ongoing" between Athens and its creditors.

"Progress is being made, even though still at a slow pace," he said, adding that more time was needed to bring both sides closer together.

In return for the promised aid, Athens must commit to a number of reforms.

Moscovici said that progress had been achieved in the area of tax and the sides were moving closer on privatisations and gas market reforms.

But he said that reforms of pensions and labour markets were "significantly more challenging".


© 2015 AFP

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