Com­pe­ti­tion pro­pos­als on way

Greece up­dat­ing troika re­gard­ing OECD rec­om­men­da­tions; no im­me­di­ate con­clu­sion to re­view seen by Rehn

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Greece is ex­pected to send to­day its pro­pos­als for dis­man­tling bar­ri­ers to com­pe­ti­tion, which the troika this week in­sisted were key to the cur­rent re­view of the Greek ad­just­ment pro­gram be­ing com­pleted and the next bailout tranche be­ing re­leased.

Fi­nance Min­is­ter Yan­nis Stournaras dis­cussed the mat­ter with Prime Min­is­ter An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras and Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Evan­ge­los Venize­los dur­ing a meet­ing yes­ter­day evening. He emerged to tell re­porters that Greece would be re­spond­ing to the troika to­day. “We are dis­cussing al­ter­na­tives,” he said. “We will send tomorrow the pro­pos­als that re­main.”

Ear­lier this week, the troika sent an e-mail in­form­ing the gov­ern­ment that it would have to adopt dozens of rec­om­men­da­tions made by the Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment (OECD) for re­mov­ing reg­u­la­tions that dis­tort com­pe­ti­tion be­fore the re­view can be wrapped up.

The OECD has iden­ti­fied 555 reg­u­la­tory re­stric­tions which it says un­der­mine com­pe­ti­tion and cost just over 5 bil­lion eu­ros. It made 329 rec­om­men­da­tions on le­gal pro­vi­sions that should be amended or re­pealed.

Kathimerini un­der­stands that Athens will in­form the troika it is pre­pared to adopt around 80 per­cent of the rec­om­men­da­tions, re­ject­ing some, such as ex­tend­ing the shelf-life of fresh milk, and of­fer­ing al­ter­na­tives on oth­ers.

Ear­lier, Euro­pean Eco­nomic and Mone­tary Af­fairs Com­mis­sion­ers Olli Rehn re­fused to spec­u­late on when the cur­rent re­view would end and in­di­cated that debt relief talks would take place in the sum­mer.

“Greece needs to do its home­work,” Rehn told the Wall Street Jour­nal at the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum in Davos, Switzer­land, adding that the re­view would con­clude “in the next few months.”

With re­gards to debt relief, the Greek gov­ern­ment had been hop­ing that a con­fir­ma­tion of the coun­try’s 2013 pri­mary bud­get sur­plus by Euro­stat in April would trig­ger an im­me­di­ate dis­cus­sion about light­en­ing the debt load. How­ever, Rehn said that this dis­cus­sion would take place “over the sum­mer.”

Given that Euro­pean Par­lia­ment elec­tions are due in May, this in­di­cates that talks re­gard­ing debt relief can be ex­pected in June at the ear­li­est.

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