KeepTalkingGreece — Responding to a question by Greek MEP Nikos Chountis during last Thursday’s session of the European Parliament’s Employment and Social Affairs Committee Jeroem Dijsselbloem, the outgoing Eurogroup president, said
“We had a banking crisis, a fiscal crisis and we spent lot of the tax-payers’ money – in the wrong way, in my opinion – to save the banks” outgoing Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem said adding “so that the people criticizing us and saying that everything was being done for the benefit of the banks were to some extent right.”
“This is valid for the banks of all our countries. Everywhere in Europe banks were saved at taxpayers’ cost,” he underlined.
“This was the reason for banking union and the introduction of higher standards, better supervision and a reform and rescue framework when banks have losses,” he said stressing “precisely so that we don’t find ourselves in that situation again.”
But despite the handling of the economy by the lenders the labour market reforms forced on Greece had brought “clear improvements” that were reflected in the latest unemployment figures in the country, Dijsselbloem said.
Greece has implemented a great many labour market reforms as part of its programme, which sought to increase the competitiveness of the Greek economy by making the labour market more flexible.
On collective bargaining, he said these had been frozen to “correct” imbalances caused by excessive wage hikes after the introduction of the euro but agreed that restoring them was now a priority, saying that this would happen at the end of the programme in the summer of next year.
Dijsselbloem said the economic situation in Greece had improved as a result of the reforms and stressed the need to conclude the third review on time, while appearing confident that a staff-level agreement have be achieved before the end of the year, so that the next disbursement of loans to Greece can be approved at the start of 2018.