Gov’t looks beyond talks

As troika re­turn looms, Athens eyes new re­la­tion­ship with cred­i­tors, debt de­bate

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

With troika en­voys due to re­turn to Athens in the com­ing days for talks on pend­ing re­forms, the gov­ern­ment is seek­ing to fi­nal­ize its po­si­tion on key is­sues with an aim to shift­ing the de­bate to the prospects for putting Greece’s re­la­tion­ship with for­eign cred­i­tors on a dif­fer­ent foot­ing and to dis­cussing debt re­lief.

Athens is keen for a dis­cus­sion on debt re­lief and on a “post-mem­o­ran­dum” era to be com­pleted by the end of Jan­uary, be­fore pres­i­den­tial elec­tions which could lead to snap polls if the coali­tion fails to gar­ner an en­hanced majority for its can­di­date, Kathimerini un­der­stands.

Greek au­thor­i­ties have in­sisted that the coun­try can go it alone next year, after the Euro­pean arm of a loan pro­gram ends. Greece’s eu­ro­zone part­ners, how­ever, have said the coun­try will need some help get­ting back on its feet and want Athens to re­tain some kind of con­di­tional support. Sources spoke of an “en­hanced con­di­tions credit line,” not­ing that this would chiefly com­prise 11.4 bil­lion euros in resid­ual fund­ing from the re­cap­i­tal­iza­tion of Greek banks. There would also be a new agree­ment be­tween Greece and the eu­ro­zone which would not be chris­tened as a mem­o­ran­dum but would come with cer­tain terms at­tached. The na­ture of this “new re­la­tion­ship” be­tween Greece and its eu­ro­zone part­ners is ex­pected to be dis­cussed at a Eurogroup sum­mit to­day.

Mean­while the gov­ern­ment must make good on a se­ries of eco­nomic re­forms it has pledged to the troika in ex­change for 7.1 bil­lion euros in loans.

Tech­ni­cal staff from the troika are due in Athens this week while mis­sion chiefs will only re­turn once the gov­ern­ment has sent them its fi­nal po­si­tions on key struc­tural re­forms.

Mean­while in com­ments over the week­end, SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras called again for snap elec­tions. Ad­dress­ing a sum­mit of the Party of the Euro­pean Left in Athens on Satur­day, Tsipras said SYRIZA’s chief aim re­mained to seek a write­off of the bulk of Greece’s debt and to de­mand the re­turn of a forced loan is­sued by the Bank of Greece to the Nazi regime dur­ing World War II. The left­ists will also seek to freeze Greece’s loan re­pay­ments to the coun­try’s in­ter­na­tional cred­i­tors so that funds can be pumped into boost­ing the econ­omy, Tsipras said.

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