EWG gives the nod for loan tranche

Athens may have to wait un­til af­ter Wed­nes­day to re­ceive 3.3-bln-euro in­stall­ment due to tech­ni­cal is­sue

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

The Euro Work­ing Groupof eu­ro­zone fi­nance min­istry of­fi­cials have ap­proved the dis­burse­ment of the next bailout loan tranche to Athens, sources from Athens and Brus­sels con­firmed yes­ter­day, al­though the dis­burse­ment it­self will not take place be­fore the Eurogroup meet­ing next Thurs­day.

The 3.3-bil­lion-euro in­stall­ment re­ceived the green light from se­nior eu­ro­zone fi­nance min­istry of­fi­cials who met in­for­mally in Rome over the last cou­ple of days fol­low­ing a fa­vor­able rec­om­men­da­tion by the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank and the In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund – known col­lec­tively as the troika – ac­cord­ing to two Fi­nance Min­istry of­fi­cials in Athens.

The pay­ment was con­tin­gent on Greece achiev­ing bench- marks re­lated to anti-cor­rup­tion ef­forts, house­hold debt and elec­tric­ity mar­ket re­forms. “The ERT shut­down cer­tainly helped,” one of the two of­fi­cials told Reuters. As one con­di­tion of the bailout, Greece has promised to lay off 4,000 pub­lic sec­tor work­ers by the end of the year, with half to be dis­missed by the end of Septem­ber.

Al­though the orig­i­nal plan had been for the re­lease of the tranche on Mon­day, this has been post­poned un­til Thurs­day at the ear­li­est due to a tech­ni­cal rea­son, ac­cord­ing to sources from Brus­sels. The de­ci­sion has noth­ing to do with po­lit­i­cal de­vel­op­ments in Athens or the state broad­caster’s shut­down, the same sources stated, but con­cerns the need for the Ger­man par­lia­ment’s re­spon­si­ble com­mit­tee to ap­prove the in­stall­ment, which is likely to hap­pen on Wed­nes­day.

The Eurogroup meet­ing of eu­ro­zone fi­nance min­is­ters is ex­pected to con­firm that on Thurs­day, given that the coun­cil has al­ready given its po­lit­i­cal back­ing to the dis­burse­ment of the funds to Greece, which will take the to­tal amount of loans is­sued to 210 bil­lion eu­ros. At­ten­tion now turns to the on­go­ing mon­i­tor­ing process. The heads of the troika have re­turned to Athens from Rome and are due to visit the Fi­nance Min­istry to­day. The main is­sues on the ta­ble will be com­bat­ing tax eva­sion and the ac­tion the govern­ment has to take to re­struc­ture its tax col­lec­tion mech­a­nism.

The top rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the coun­try’s cred­i­tors are sched­uled to leave Athens next Fri­day.

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