Crucial test for exit plan
Eurogroup to give coalition better idea of where it stands on leaving bailout
Greece should emerge from today’s Eurogroup meeting with a clearer idea on where its eurozone partners stand on its plans to exit the troika bailout at the end of the year and what reforms it will have to complete over the next few weeks to secure this transition.
Eurozone finance ministers are expected to discuss what form a precautionary credit line for Greece might take from the beginning of next year. Athens will need the extra support so that it can borrow from international bond markets. It is thought that a number of key eurozone countries view the Greek plan favorably but want to tie the government to reform commitments and are keen that the International Monetary Fund should retain an advisory role, even though Athens wants to reject the loans it is due to receive from the Washington-based organization in 2015 and 2016.
However, much will revolve around the troika’s current review of the Greek program, which has been on hold since last month. Eurozone finance ministers are due to give their opinions on the proposals the Greek government has made on reforms being demanded by its lenders. It might be the case that the Eurogroup decides that some key reforms should be part of a package of 10 to 15 changes to be implemented next year, given that the scope for actions to be carried out this year is narrowing.
A European Union official, who wished to remain anonymous, told Kathimerini that Greece would be expected to show substantial progress in implementing the remaining reforms but, at the same time, the eurozone does not want to find itself in a position where its part of the program ends at the end of the year and Athens continues with only the IMF stretch of the bailout.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos and Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis met yesterday afternoon to discuss Greece’s position ahead of the Eurogroup.
After the talks, Venizelos said the coalition would not heed opposition parties’ calls for a meeting of political leaders, which are usually reserved for matters of national importance.