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Tsakalotos says Greece plans to return to markets in 2019 to buy IMF or ECB debt

Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos unfolded the government plans how to deal with red loans and how the country will return to the markets.

In an interview with radio News24/7 on Tuesday, Tsakalotos said that Greece negotiated hard with the country’s lenders to secure a buffer of 25 billion euros and “thanks to that we are able to choose when we will go shopping from the markets.”

“Our goal is to raise €7 billion from the markets in 2019 and when the right moment comes the final exit will be done,” the finance minister said adding “in the next period we will buy the debt to the IMF or the one to the ECB or a bit of both.”

Referring to the bad loans, Tsakalotos said that they were the biggest problem for the Greek economy. However, he suggested that all sides refrain from panic. “Banks are meeting their targets and have their own plans, as do we. Banks have been recapitalized, there is no problem of instability. We work with a scheme of guarantees in order to decrease the bad loans, growth and real estate prices also offer support,” he said.

He added that state debts to private sector are a bit higher than 2 billion euros.

Tsakalotos expressed his optimism that capital control restrictions will be fully lifted by end of 2019. “Every two months I sign a paper that lifts some restrictions,” he said adding “as long as deposits return to the banks, the bigger is the lifting of capital controls.”

He dismissed claims that there is no investment in Greece and explained that the Hellinikon investment project is going forwards, we are awaiting for the casino license, the bide conclusion. It is possible that construction can begin in summer,” Tsakalotos stressed.

On political level, he dismiss scenarios he might follow Alexis Tsipras in SYRIZA leadership saying he is too old to be Tsipras’ successor.

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