George Papaconstantinou, Greece’s finance minister between 2009 and 2011, warned European politicians that they face a “perfect storm” this summer with the refugee and sovereign debt crises still unresolved.
Papaconstantinou, who led Greece’s negotiations with the European Union at the start of the sovereign debt crisis, said he didn’t “think we or the wider EU has learned from the serious mistakes of the past six years.”
The main mistake he levied at European policymakers is the amount of time they take to coming to a decision.
“Delays cost a lot of money,” Papaconstantinou said at the FT Europe conference in London on Thursday.
Six years after the Greek debt crisis began, the International Monetary Fund considers Greek debt still “highly unsustainable” and wants the country’s partners to grant Athens substantial relief. On Tuesday, inspectors from EU and IMF lenders adjourned talks on a crucial bailout review, mainly due to a rift among the lenders over a projected fiscal gap by 2018 and over Athens’ resistance to unpopular reforms.
“We’re paying for our mistakes. Things tend to catch up with you and that’s true for Greece and for the Eurozone. We could be facing a another perfect storm with the refugee crisis and the fact that debt negotiations aren’t closed,” Papaconstantinou said.