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Greece says wants speedy reform review, delays could harm outlook
December 22, 2016 / 9:44 AM / a year ago

Greece says wants speedy reform review, delays could harm outlook

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Thursday Athens wanted a speedy conclusion to a now-stalled review of bailout reforms, warning delays could hinder economic recovery after years of recession.

Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras arrives at a European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium, December 15, 2016. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

Athens’s European lenders last week suspended short term debt relief for the nation after Tsipras’s leftist administration granted a one-off Christmas bonus to pensioners without consulting creditors.

Greece is following reforms outlined in a bailout program worth up to 86 billion euros. It is its third since 2010, and regular reviews of reforms and approval by lenders are vital for Athens to continue receiving tranches of financial aid.

“Our aim is to conclude the second review in a timely manner so there is no question hovering over the positive momentum (of the economy),” Tsipras told a conference in Athens.

“Greece now has the basic preconditions in place which would allow it to autonomously enter money markets in 2017.”

The country was on the cusp of strong recovery after seven years of deep recession, Tsipras said at the launching of an equity fund in cooperation with the European Investment Bank, the long-term financing arm of the European Commission.

Tsipras said the economy was on course for rebounding by 2.7 percent in 2017 and 3.1 percent in 2018.

“It’s my deep conviction ... there isn’t a European institution which would want this roadmap disrupted, of emerging from this deep tunnel the Greek economy found itself in for many years,” he said.

“Nobody would want to revisit the uncertainty over the country’s prospects, and certainly nobody would want to discourage investors who are starting to regain confidence, thus weakening the prospects of recovery,” he said.

On Wednesday, Greece and euro zone negotiators discussed guarantees that Athens could offer to make sure the pensioner payout was a one-off measure not to be replicated, euro zone and Greek officials told Reuters.

Reporting by Michele Kambas; Editing by Tom Heneghan

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