"We are still here and we are voting on the last memorandum budget," Minister of State and government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said on Tuesday, addressing the Parliamentary plenum on the last day of the debate for the draft 2018 budget.
Despite the opposition's repeated gloomy predictions, he said, and the forecasts of doom pushed by the old, state-supported and pampered business elite and the media systems supporting them, the attempts to undermine the present government had foundered, Tzanakopoulos said.
He repeated that the current fiscal adjustment programme will come to an end in August 2018 as planned and noted that there was a logical fallacy in the opposition's claim that Greece had been ready to exit the memorandums in 2014, with the third memorandum resulting from the confrontation with Greece's lenders.
The rhetoric about a 'success story' and successful end to the programme in 2014 had been nothing more than a pipe-dream of the Samaras-Venizelos government of that time, who'd hoped that the troika would "turn a blind eye" to the fiscal gap in order to avoid the rise of SYRIZA, Tzanakopoulos said
This was completely unlike the present situation, when a difficult adjustment programme was coming to a successful conclusion, the spokesman added, albeit one with "many elements to which we would never have agreed, but were imposed under the known conditions."
The main indicator that permitted certainty about a successful conclusion of the programme were the falling interest rates for Greek bonds, which had dropped below 4 pct for the 10-year bond, Tzanakopoulos said. This meant that a return by Greece to the markets under its own steam and the recovery of economic and political sovereignty were not just a fantasy or a desire but an eminently feasible and attainable target, he added.
While the agreement had to be made more specific, Tzanakopoulos noted, the exit from the programme was now in sight. On the level of fiscal supervision for Greece after the memorandum programmes, he said this would not be as strict as present levels.
"Obviously, this does not mean there will be no supervision or monitoring. It does not mean that a government can or should do whatever it likes," he added, pointing out that the markets themselves imposed a degree of fiscal discipline, as well as Eurozone oversight mechanisms.
"On no account, however, are we talking about the same regime of supervision or the same regime of control," he said.