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1/23/16

Economy: Europe is less vulnerable than other regions to China slowdown - by Pierre Moscov

The European recovery remains on track, despite turbulence in China, according to EU Commissioner Pierre Moscovici. But he also warned against complacency.

In an exclusive interview with EurActiv at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Moscovici urged Greece to be more ambitious with its pension reform.

Pierre Moscovici is EU Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs.
He spoke to EurActiv's Jorge Valero.

You met with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at the World Economic Forum. The pension reform is the big issue on the table. Are you asking only for some fine-tuning of the reform, or are your objections more substantial?

I had a 15 minute-long meeting with Tsipras, which is a long meeting here in Davos. We are trying to work on what could be a global approach. We did not enter into specifics. It is not up to me to negotiate the precise parameters of a pension reform at this stage.

The Greek authorities and the European partners want to go on in building a success story in Greece, which means a full implementation of the programme, and strong reforms leading to a rapid conclusion of the first review, so that we can go on with the programme, and start the debate on alleviating the debt service under good conditions.

All with the presence of the IMF, which I think is a necessity for the Europeans. The IMF is part of the security of the programme, and a guarantee for its future.

I discussed with Tsirpas how this success story could go on. Of course, I insisted on an approach step by step. This means succeeding in the first step, which is what is necessary to conclude the first review and mostly the pension reform, and the implementation of the privatisation fund.

Given that Europe faces numerous challenges, and it would be difficult to handle another crisis like in the past year, would there be some leeway from the creditors to avoid another Greek tragedy?
We don’t have to alleviate our demands.

We have a roadmap, the memorandum of understanding which is based on the July agreement. We have to fulfill it.

But obviously, the climate and working conditions, the relationship between the institutions, the member states and the Greek government have changed positively since July. To sum up what I said to Alexis Tsipras: we must keep the momentum.

Let’s not enter in the atmosphere of drama or any kind of ‘Grexit’ scenario. We were too close to Grexit in the summer.  We avoided that. We don’t want to re-enter into that. On the contrary, let’s keep the momentum by advancing with the programme.

Therefore, we need an ambitious pension reform. We are not there yet, but I am confident that with goodwill and strong technical manage we can get there.

Read more: Moscovici: Europe is less vulnerable than other regions to China slowdown | EurActiv

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