December 20, 2016 / 9:12 PM / 9 months ago

Greek PM sees 'prompt' bailout review deal without new austerity

ATHENS, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Tuesday he remained convinced that Greece’s bailout review could be concluded “promptly” and he called on Athens’s foreign creditors not to make excessive demands of the heavily indebted country.

Greece wants a quick conclusion of its bailout review, which began in October, but it remains at odds with its European and International Monetary Fund lenders over fiscal targets and labour and energy reforms.

It hopes for inclusion in the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing programme within the first three months of 2017 as well as a return to the international bond markets next year.

“I‘m convinced (the review) will be concluded positively, it will be concluded promptly and, most importantly, it will be concluded without new measures after the programme expires (and) without the excessive demands some are putting on the table,” Tsipras said in a speech on the island of Crete.

Greece’s lenders should “not ask for things you know cannot be done in an economy carrying the wounds created by your own mistakes,” he said, referring to austerity measures imposed on the country over the past few years.

Tsipras angered Greece’s European lenders this month by announcing a one-off payment to low-income pensioners for Christmas because Athens beat its fiscal 2016 targets. Its lenders responded by freezing a short-term debt relief agreed in early December.

Tsipras reiterated on Tuesday that the pension bonus, which was approved last week, would be paid to pensioners on Thursday.

Euro zone deputy finance ministers discussed the implications of the pension payout at a meeting on Tuesday and were expected to continue their talks on Wednesday, euro zone officials said.

“There was a discussion on several possible options to unblock the implementation of the short term debt measures. So far there has not been complete consensus,” one official said. (Reporting by Karolina Tagaris, additional reporting by Francesco Guarascio in Brussels; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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