The Greek government is working hard to conclude the second review as soon as possible so it can join the European Central Bank's quantitative easing programme in the first quarter of 2017, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos repeated on Tuesday in response to questions.
Earlier, the spokesman said the government was seeking "a socially sustainable agreement without retreating before the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) absurd demands."
Tzanakopoulos relayed the government's confidence that all the interested parties would soon be undertaking initiatives to conclude an agreement on both a technical and political level, with the Greek government in a central role.
"Ahead of the Eurogroup of February 20, it has become apparent that there is a readiness on the part of all involved to undertake initiatives. Our position is that there must be a comprehensive agreement on all issues, so that there is no 'shadow' and we can join the quantitative easing programme," he said.
Tzanakopoulos insisted that the IMF's demand that Greece legislate for an additional 4.5-billion-euros in "precautionary measures" after the end of the programme was unreasonable. "As became apparent from Monday's meeting at the IMF, disagreements exist not just between the IMF and the European institutions but also within the IMF itself," he added.
He called on all sides involved but especially the IMF to stop "stonewalling" and noted that the IMF's internal procedures could not lead to further delays in completing the second review.
"On our side, there is absolutely no chance that we will agree to the IMF's absurd demands, which are not compatible with the true facts about the Greek economy," Tzanakopoulos said. He also pointed out the contradiction within the IMF's position, which recommended less austerity and lower primary surpluses for Greece, on the one hand, while demanding a new round of pension cuts and a lower tax-free allowance, on the other hand.
The spokesman ruled out the possibility of "splitting up" the review, noting that this concerned both the reforms and the fiscal path up to 2018. "There are additionally two more points, the medium-term measures for the debt and the size of primary surpluses after 2018, which in total make up the body of the negotiations now underway. The Greek government can discuss and agree on anything that is socially sustainable and can lead to inclusion in the quantitative easing programme," he said.