Gov’t looks beyond talks
As troika return looms, Athens eyes new relationship with creditors, debt debate
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.