FRANKFURT: The head of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi congratulated Greece on its progress but urged Athens to quickly implement pledged reforms in an interview to be published Sunday.
“Many things have taken a turn for the better in a very short period of time,” Draghi said in an interview with Greek daily Katherimini.
“And we have to give credit to the Greek prime minister, to the Greek government and really to the Greek people for that.”
A first tranche of bailout funds — around 10 billion euros ($11.4 billion) — has been made available, and a second tranche of up to 15 billion euros is expected after a review of Greece’s economic reforms and its shaky financial sector no later than November 15.
“I believe it is in the interest of everyone that the focus should now be on quickly implementing the measures that were jointly agreed, in line with the set timeline,” Draghi said.
Meeting in Luxembourg Monday for the first time since Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was reelected in snap elections on September 20, eurozone finance chiefs agreed on a list of reforms to be swiftly implemented by Athens in order to unlock the slice of its huge 86-billion-euro ($96-billion) EU bailout.
Greece’s three-year rescue package came after six months of acrimonious negotiations with its eurozone partners that pushed Athens to the cusp of a chaotic fallout from the single currency.
The bailout includes provisions deeply opposed by Greeks such as reforming state pensions, tax increases on farmers and privatisations of cherished state companies.