Athens Digest 28.06.2018

FT: Greece ready to sign deal with Merkel to take back asylum seekers

PM Tsipras tells Bloomberg post-bailout commitments are solid but his government will decide “the optimal methods to meet the agreed goals”

Conservatives leader Mitsotakis in Germany: Debt relief necessary, but doesn’t go far enough; competitiveness must be improved

Potami parliament member suggests alliance with government

# In an interview with the Financial Times, Alexis Tsipras said he was open to a special agreement with Berlin to curtail the “secondary movement” of refugees that arrive at the EU’s southern border but then journey north to Germany. According to the report, Greece’s prime minister is ready to strike a deal with Angela Merkel to make it easier for Germany to send asylum seekers back to other European countries, giving the embattled chancellor an important boost before a crucial EU summit.

# Greece will honour it’s post-programme commitments PM Alexis Tsipras said, speaking to Bloomberg Television while on his trip to the UK. “The important thing about the end of this programme is that the Greek government committed to these goals and they are our responsibility … You can correctly say that we have already legislated for 2019: 1 percent positive and 1 percent negative measures.” Asked about the legislated pension cuts, he added: “The government will decide when the time comes, what is the optimal method financially as well as socially in the country in order to meet our goals.”

# “Debt relief was necessary, but it doesn’t go far enough. Until we decide to make the changes needed to improve the competitiveness of the Greek economy, the country will not lead developments but be the beggar of Europe” said opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, after a meeting in Berlin with German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz.

# For his part, answering to the German Parliament, MinFin Scholz reportedly said that “all agreements which have been made so far must be respected in the future”. He claimed that “the IMF is here” and will also participate in the agreed post-program supervision. “We are also grateful for the know-how that the IMF will provide in this context,” he added.

# As internal turmoil in ANEL, the junior coalition government partner, affects the government majority, political scene is being polarized. Government spokesperson Dimitris Tzanakopoulos once more claimed that a “coordinated plan of intimidation” against MPs is being implemented by business interests, supported by far right media. A renewed spat over law-and-order and politically motivated violence was triggered yestersay by an attempted attack on the offices of an ANEL MP. But this time, it was the far left anarchist group Rubicon which made the attempt.“Seeing ghosts about vested interests is historically the last shelter of governments which collapse” told journalists, in Gerrmany, opposition leader Mitsotakis.

# An MP from Greece’s centrist Potami party has suggested backing the government if the Independent Greeks pull out of Prime Minister Tsipras’ coalition. Lawmaker Spyros Danellis told state-run radio that Tsipras should align his left-wing Syriza party with “progressive forces. Syriza needs the support of at least five additional MPs to remain in power without ANEL’s support. Potami has six lawmakers.

On our Radar: Deposits up
The Bank of Greece says domestic bank deposits have risen for a fourth straight month _ up a further EUR 1.08 billion on the month in May. The central bank said commercial and private deposits reached a total of EUR 128.06 billion euros. The deposit return is helping the effort by banks to clear bad loans. Despite the positive news, the annual growth rate of credit to the private sector was -1.9 percent on the year in May.