Goal set for De­cem­ber 8

Moscovici sug­gests next month’s Eurogroup to be de­ci­sive for bailout exit plan

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

The Greek gov­ern­ment felt en­cour­aged yes­ter­day by Euro­pean Eco­nomic Af­fairs Com­mis­sioner Pierre Moscovici point­ing to the De­cem­ber 8 Eurogroup as a key date for de­cid­ing how Greece’s re­la­tion­ship with the troika should evolve.

Sources said that the coali­tion feels Moscovici’s com­ments are en­cour­ag­ing for Greece’s plans to exit the bailout at the end of the year, almost 18 months be­fore the fi­nal loan in­stall­ments from the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund are due to be dis­bursed.

The gov­ern­ment still has plenty of work to do to com­plete the on­go­ing troika re­view that will al­low it to hold the dis­cus­sion with its lenders over whether, and un­der what con­di­tions, it will be able to re­turn to the mar­kets early next year. Troika of­fi­cials have yet to be con­vinced by the coali­tion’s pro­pos­als for a range of re­forms that are still pend­ing.

Nev­er­the­less, Moscovici’s com­ment is seen as an in­di­ca­tion that a deal could be reached by De­cem­ber 8. The prime min­is­ter’s of­fice was also en­cour­aged by com­ments from Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel, in which she in­di­cated that Greece could soon exit its pro­gram.

Much eco­nomic progress has been made in the eu­ro­zone since the height of the bloc’s debt cri­sis, Merkel told the BDA em­ploy­ers’ con­fed­er­a­tion in Ger­many yes­ter­day, not­ing Ire­land, Por­tu­gal, Spain and Greece had com­pleted or were close to ex­it­ing their bailout pro­grams.

“But still the sit­u­a­tion in the eu­ro­zone re­mains ex­tremely frag­ile,” Merkel added.

At the same time, though, Prime Min­is­ter An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras re­mains con­scious of the grow­ing po­lit­i­cal un­cer­tainty on the do­mes­tic front. Although the premier in­sisted on Mon­day after talks with Pres­i­dent Karo­los Papou­lias that Greece would not have to hold early elec­tions, SYRIZA yes­ter­day con­tin­ued to raise doubts about such a sce­nario.

“There is the same chance of elec­tions be­ing held in 2016 as there are of the sun go­ing out in the same year,” said SYRIZA spokesman Panos Sk­ourletis.

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