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“Greece wants to repay loans to ECB and IMF before maturity,” Tsakalotos says

Greece wants to repay loans to the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank before they mature, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said on Tuesday. The aim is to reduce debt serving cost, he added.

The ECB holds Greek debt worth around 12 billion euros with an average maturity of four years. The IMF holds Greek debt worth 10 billion euros and a maturity of three years.

“We have plans to pay the IMF and the ECB earlier, and this is in a kind of restructuring because we swap expensive debt with cheap debt,” Tsakalotos told state broadcaster ERT.

Greece could use part of the cash buffer to repay these two institutions, the finance minister added.

The cash buffer is some 24 billion euros witth15 of them to have been the last tranche of the third bailout program in August short before the country exited the fiscal adjustment program.

Tsakalotos statement comes amid a debate with lenders on whether the measure to cut further pensions will be implement or not as of 1.1.2019.

Athens struggles to avoid the measure implementation given the parliamentary elections later next year.

“We have convinced the lenders that there is enough fiscal space to avoid the pension cuts,”Tsakalotos said.

“Cautiously optimistic” as he said he is, Tsakalotos said also that the counter-austerity measures could be implemented in a period of four years and not two as prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced the next government plans in Thessaloniki beginning of September.

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