No more aid likely be­fore March

FinMin hopes for agree­ment with troika next month as EU of­fi­cials push Athens for progress on re­forms

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Fi­nance Min­is­ter Yan­nis Stournaras said yes­ter­day that fur­ther res­cue fund­ing is un­likely to be ap­proved be­fore March as Euro­pean of­fi­cials meet­ing in Brus­sels pressed Athens to in­ten­sify its re­form ef­forts.

Stournaras was speak­ing at the con­clu­sion of a sum­mit of eu­ro­zone of­fi­cials in Brus­sels where Greece was not of­fi­cially on the agenda but was dis­cussed on the side­lines. He said he hoped a deal could be reached with troika of­fi­cials next month, paving the way for the re­lease of aid in March, and sug­gested that a pri­mary sur­plus for 2013, es­ti­mated at 830 mil­lion eu­ros, would help plug a fis­cal gap for 2014. “The mat­ter has been solved in a way that can­not be dis­puted,” he said.

Stournaras added that any fis­cal gap for 2015 would be cov­ered with struc­tural re­forms, not fur­ther aus­ter­ity mea­sures. Asked about the cost of a re­cent court de­ci­sion, leaked to the Greek me­dia, that re­verses wage cuts for mil­i­tary and se­cu­rity ser­vices em­ploy­ees, Stournaras said he could not com­ment on a de­ci­sion that has not yet been an­nounced.

Euro­pean of­fi­cials pressed Greece to move for­ward with re­forms. Dutch Fi­nance Min­is­ter Jeroen Di­js­sel­bloem, who leads the Eurogroup, said there has been “far too lit­tle” progress. “I am sorry to say that the re­view is not yet con­cluded and fur­ther work is needed in Greece be­fore the troika can re­turn to Athens,” he said. “We call on Greece and troika part­ners to do their ut­most to con­clude ne­go­ti­a­tions as soon pos­si­ble,” he added.

Ger­man Fi­nance Min­is­ter Wolf­gang Schaeu­ble noted that Greece’s fis­cal data “looked good” but that “fur­ther ef­forts are needed,” while Michael Spin­de­leg­ger of Aus­tria ex­pressed con­cerns about struc­tural re­forms and a lag­ging pri­va­ti­za­tion pro­gram.

Apart from push­ing Athens to move for­ward with stalled struc­tural re­forms and state sell-offs, en­voys rep­re­sent­ing Greece’s troika of in­ter­na­tional lenders have pressed gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials to adopt a raft of pro­pos­als aimed at re­mov­ing bar­ri­ers to com­pe­ti­tion. The pro­pos­als are set out in a re­port by the Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment and the gov­ern­ment is pre­pared to en­force 80 per­cent of them, sources re­vealed af­ter Prime Min­is­ter An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras and his coali­tion part­ner Evan­ge­los Venize­los dis­cussed the mat­ter last week. But sources close to De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Costis Hatzi­dakis said there is re­sis­tance to many re­forms, par­tic­u­larly among the ranks of PASOK. “Noth­ing has been fi­nal­ized,” one source said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Greece

© PressReader. All rights reserved.