ATHENS Dec 20 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
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
"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
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
"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)