Greece PM Says Won't Accept Strict EU Conditions on COVID-19 Aid

Greece PM Says Won't Accept Strict EU Conditions on COVID-19 Aid
Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis arrives for a special European Council summit in Brussels on Feb. 20, 2020. (Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP via Getty Images)

Greece will not accept strict European Union conditions on the use of the coronavirus emergency aid, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told the Financial Times newspaper in an interview published on Sunday.

"Greeks have matured a lot. And we want to do our own reforms", he was quoted as saying.

A six-monthly review of economic performance carried out by the European Commission was sufficient and that there was no need for any "additional strict conditionality," he said.

The prime minister told the FT that Greece had a very "aggressive reform agenda" that would focus on "the green transition," "the digital transition", and encouragements to investments in part through a privatization program.

On Friday, while speaking in parliament, he announced new measures worth 3.5 billion euros ($4.0 billion) to support businesses hurt by a lockdown imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

Greece emerged from a decade-long debt crisis in 2018 and was hoping for strong growth in 2020. But the nationwide lockdown imposed in March to prevent coronavirus infections has turned those expectations upside down.

The Greek economy is expected to shrink by about 8–10 percent this year before recovering in 2021.

By Kanishka Singh