Minister for Economy, Infrastructure, Shipping and Tourism, Giorgos Stahakis said on Friday that Greece had indeed money to pay the International Monetary Fund but chose not to do so.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4 Today, Stathakis said that Greece had the money to pay the IMF on June 5th but it decided not to do so and accept the IMF’s offer to “bundle” the four June payments and pay €1.6 billion in June 30th.
Stathakis stressed that while the Greek government wants to come to an agreement with the creditors as soon as possible, it cannot accept the creditors’ recent proposals.
“Greece will not accept the fiscal adjustment proposals for 2015-2016.’
He described the Institutions proposals as “very high” demands containing “very tough” austerity measures.
“Greece will do everything it can to stay in the euro and change the terms of debt agreement,”Stathakis said.
Greece’s decision to bundle the four payments to the IMF is being considered by many international media as a first step to Grexit. Signasls coming form Brussels and the IMF speak of creditors’ “disturbance” about the Greek decision.
However, one should not exclude the option that it was a strategic move by the Greek government to put pressure on its lenders. Furthermore, many SYRIZA officials had called the government not to pay the June-5th tranche to the IMF after European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker handed out to PM Alexis Tsipras a 5-page Draft plan with creditors’ austerity demands that can be described as “absurd”.
Late Thursday night, PM Tsipras had a conference call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande. The call lasted 1.5 hour but no much information was leaked to the press except that the call was “constructive” and that the Gree PM told them that Greece cannot accept these austerity demands.
Anyway, PM Tsipras is going to brief the Parliament’s Plenary on the negotiations later on Friday and he maybe explain why the IMF payment postponement.
The Parliament session starts at 6:30 pm GR time.