by Kerin Hope
May 9, 2016
The chairman of Greece’s biggest bank has taken aim at the leftwing government of Alexis Tsipras, the prime minister, saying it must own and fully implement reforms — not just legislate them — if the country is to return to growth.
“The real issue is that Greece implements the measures, that the government strengthens the role of the private sector and that the role of the state in the economy is restricted,” Michalis Sallas said in an interview with the Financial Times.
A normally reclusive figure, the Piraeus Bank chairman visibly exudes the frustration felt by senior Athens bankers over a six-month delay in completing a progress review of Greece’s third international bailout, which many regard as critical to attracting investors back to the cash-strapped country.
Mr Sallas and other bankers fault the Tsipras government more than the creditors for the delays, and worry that continued foot-dragging raises the risk of Athens defaulting on a sovereign debt payment and plunging the country into another crisis.