Athens, cred­i­tors at odds on TAIPED

Lenders are con­sid­er­ing set­ting up a dif­fer­ent hy­per-fund to ad­min­is­ter the uti­liza­tion of state as­sets

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY VANGELIS MANDRAVELIS

The gov­ern­ment and its cred­i­tors were yesterday at odds over the le­gal sta­tus, rev­enues and role of pri­va­ti­za­tion fund TAIPED, which is to be trans­formed into a hy­per-fund with the aim of col­lect­ing 50 bil­lion eu­ros in rev­enues over the next three decades.

“There has been con­ver­gence on cer­tain points and dis­agree­ments on oth­ers. We will ex­am­ine them and re­turn to them,” Fi­nance Min­is­ter Eu­clid Tsakalo­tos stated af­ter yesterday’s round of talks he par­tic­i­pated in with the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, the Euro­pean Sta­bil­ity Mech­a­nism, the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank and the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund in Athens.

Tsakalo­tos tried to play down the dif­fer­ences be­tween the two sides, say­ing, “I did not get the im­pres­sion that there is a sub­stan­tial prob­lem or that a ma­jor dis­agree­ment could emerge from those sticky points.” He added that to­day’s meet­ing will end this round of talks on the sub­ject and should show which is­sues re­main open and what ob­sta­cles may be raised.

The min­is­ter de­scribed the le­gal sta­tus of the fund as “a mi­nor prob­lem,” while stress­ing the sig­nif­i­cance of the com­bi­na­tion of TAIPED’s orig­i­nal pri­va­ti­za­tion pro­gram with the new, larger man­date it will have as a hy­per-fund. “This is the main thing that is wor­ry­ing us,” he com­mented.

The two sides also ap­pear to be weigh­ing the cre­ation of a new hy­per-fund in­stead of up­grad­ing TAIPED as agreed by the eu­ro­zone sum­mit agree­ment of July 13. Some peo­ple are say­ing that if a new fund is cre­ated from scratch it will re­quire much more time and add to the de­lays in the sell-off pro­gram, while oth­ers ar­gue that this may not be the case. Up­grad­ing TAIPED would min­i­mize the de­lays, while the fund has al­ready been up­graded sev­eral times since 2011 with­out its func­tion be­ing af­fected.

The other is­sue which is a con­cern mainly for the cred­i­tors is the fund’s in­de­pen­dence. The quar­tet of lenders are de­mand­ing the ap­point­ment of a man­age­ment with tech­ni­cal skills and free from po­lit­i­cal party af­fil­i­a­tions. The cred­i­tors will also seek an ex­plicit state­ment of sup­port for the fund’s work by the gov­ern­ment, as was also the case with TAIPED and the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment.

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