Third bailout in sight

Tsakalo­tos hope­ful ahead of late-night talks; lenders ex­pect many prior ac­tions

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

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.

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