Third bailout in sight
Tsakalotos hopeful ahead of late-night talks; lenders expect many prior actions
Representatives of the Greek government and the country’s lenders were locked in talks last night with the aim of reaching an agreement on the terms of Greece’s bailout and the prior actions Athens will have to approve immediately in order to receive more funding.
After hours of talks with the quartet of creditors, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said yesterday afternoon the negotiations were going “quite well,” expressing optimism that a deal would be reached “soon.” “I don’t know if it will be tomorrow morning but soon, it will be soon,” he told reporters, adding that “there are questions and issues that they want us to discuss over and over again, as you can understand,” referring to the foreign envoys.
Kathimerini understands that the government will have to pass more than 30 prior actions if the bill is brought to Parliament this week. This will include provisions on tonnage tax for shipping companies, reducing the price of generic drugs, phasing out early retirement, adopting the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s proposals for product market reform, liberalizing more professions, scrapping nuisance taxes, deregulating the energy market and setting dates for the tenders of the Piraeus and Thessaloniki port authorities.
Asked by reporters about comments from German officials indicating that the thoroughness of the deal was more important than its speedy finalization, Tsakalotos said, “We are focused on our goal.” “We hope all sides share this goal and are working as hard as we are toward it,” he added. As for reports about a preference in Berlin for another bridge loan for Greece to cover upcoming debt repayments rather than a deal for a third bailout, Tsakalotos struck a similar tone, saying he hoped “everyone is in the spirit of the agreement,” apparently referring to a deal signed on July 12 in Brussels by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his eurozone peers to launch talks on a third loan program.
Tsakalotos and Economy Minister Giorgos Stathakis took a break from the negotiations to brief Tsipras yesterday evening before going back into the talks.