Still no sign of troika re­turn to Athens

Of­fi­cials in Brus­sels say lack of prior ac­tion im­ple­men­ta­tion means agree­ment still ap­pears a long way off

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY ELENI VARVITSIOTI & NIKOS CHRYSOLORAS

BRUS­SELS – The date for the troika’s re­turn to Greece re­mains un­known ac­cord­ing to a let­ter Eurogroup chief and Dutch Fi­nance Min­is­ter Jeroen Di­js­sel­bloem sent to the par­lia­ment in The Hague, cit­ing Athens’s fail­ure to im­ple­ment the prior ac­tions for the com­ple­tion of the fourth as­sess­ment of the ad­just­ment pro­gram and the dis­burse­ment of the next tranche of bailout fund­ing.

Only an agree­ment be­tween the gov­ern­ment and the troika of rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank and the In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund can al­low the process for dis­burse­ment of the bailout funds to restart, the Dutch of­fi­cial stressed.

Com­mis­sion Vice Pres­i­dent Olli Rehn yes­ter­day ex­pressed hope that the troika can re­turn to Athens as soon as pos­si­ble, as, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est for­mal brief­ing by the Com­mis­sion, the aim is for the in­spec­tors to re­turn to Greece by the end of the month – i.e. right af­ter the Eurogroup meet­ing next Mon­day.

How­ever, one of the three troika heads told Kathimerini yes­ter­day that the fronts re­main open, so it re­mains un­known whether Greece will form part of the agenda of next week’s meet­ing of eu­ro­zone fi­nance min­is­ters in Brus­sels. The same of- fi­cial added that the progress of Greece’s as­sess­ment will def­i­nitely be re­quested for­mally or in­for­mally, and that it is cer­tain the usual ad­vice and guide­lines will be is­sued by Di­js­sel­bloem and Rehn re­gard­ing the need for Athens to com­ply with its com­mit­ments ac­cord­ing to the bailout agree­ment.

That was the at­mos­phere at yes­ter­day’s meet­ing of the Euro Work­ing Group (EWG), with the eu­ro­zone tech­nocrats mak­ing no se­cret of their dis­plea­sure with the dra- matic de­lay in the as­sess­ment process that should have started last Septem­ber. An of­fi­cial who is closely fol­low­ing the ex­e­cu­tion of the stream­lin­ing pro­gram told Kathimerini that the troika’s im­pres­sion last fall when the as­sess­ment started was that Greece was not pre­pared at all, re­sult­ing in con­sec­u­tive mis­sions to Athens end­ing in fail­ure. The burn­ing is­sues re­main un­re­solved and it is clear there is no rea­son for talks to re­sume un­less a re­sult is cer­tain.

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