| ATHENS, March 28
ATHENS, March 28 The Greek government told the
country's central bank chief to stay out of politics on Tuesday
after he urged it to wrap up a long-delayed bailout review.
Bank of Greece Chief Yannis Stournaras on Monday warned the
delay was creating uncertainty and risked forcing a downwards
revision of growth forecasts this year.
Relations between the government and central bank have been
strained in the past, though the leftist-led government's swipe
at Stournaras was the first for many months.
"Independent institutions can make their assessments but
must refrain from politicising," government spokesman Dimitris
Tzanakopoulos said at a weekly news briefing.
After months of hard-fought negotiations, Greece now hopes
for a deal with its international lenders during April and has
said it is working to bridge differences on labour, pension and
"They must see that the responsibility for the delay does
not lie on the side of the government but is due to irrational
demands by the IMF," Tzanakopoulos said.
"One would expect a clearer and non-political view by those
with institutional independence."
Stournaras served as finance minister under a previous
coalition government before his appointment as central bank
chief in 2014. He is a governing council member of the European
The government and its official lenders forecast the Greek
economy will return to growth this year with output expanding by
2.7 percent. The Bank of Greece has been projecting 2.5 percent
Tzanakopoulos said critics of the government's handling of
the review negotiations ought to consider the impact on growth
had Athens yielded to IMF demands for extra austerity measures
worth 4.5 billion euros in 2018-19.
"The stance of those who choose to reproduce doom scenarios
on the course of the economy, exceeding their institutional
role, creates a painful impression," the spokesman said.
Athens wants a "comprehensive deal" with lenders which would
also address the intentions of creditors vis-a-vis debt
restructuring for the crisis-hit country.
The IMF has yet to decide whether to participate in Greece's
latest bailout, worth 86 billion euros, expressing deep concerns
over debt sustainability.
(Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; editing by Richard Lough)