Reuters — European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici said Thursday he was “especially optimistic” about efforts to reach a solution on Greek debt relief.
Greece’s third bailout ends in August and debt relief is expected to come up in negotiations over its bailout exit terms in the coming months.
Athens and its eurozone lenders are expected to flesh out a French-proposed mechanism that was presented in June and which will link debt relief to Greek growth rates. The economy is forecast to grow by up to 2.5 percent this year and in 2019.
“On the issue of debt relief I am especially optimistic and I believe that our efforts will be implemented and they will be successful,” Moscovici said, through an interpreter, at a meeting with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos.
Greek public debt is forecast at 180 percent of gross domestic product this year. Greece has received a record 260 billion euros in three bailouts since 2010.
Moscovici, who is in Greece for talks on the next steps in the program, said it was up to Athens to devise a strategy for exiting its bailout and the post-bailout surveillance period.
“The exit from the bailout is becoming apparent and under very good circumstances,” Moscovici said.
The commissioner said that Greece “did what it had to do” but that economic and structural reforms must continue. He also drew attention to an “issue of administrative competence,” without elaborating.
In addition, Moscovici expressed his confidence in Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who he described as “smart and flexible,” adding that their relationship was “perfect.” Tsipras and Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos decided to “play ball,” Moscovici said.