Cru­cial test for exit plan

Eurogroup to give coali­tion bet­ter idea of where it stands on leav­ing bailout

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

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.

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