PM shifts fo­cus to prior ac­tions

Tsipras to rally min­is­ters, party on tough bill; IMF chief says re­form, debt re­lief con­di­tions for join­ing pro­gram

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

A day af­ter se­cur­ing a par­lia­men­tary vote of con­fi­dence in his gov­ern­ment, from his coali­tion MPs, Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras yesterday shifted his at­ten­tion to a much tougher chal­lenge: the bar­rage of prior ac­tions that must be leg­is­lated by mid-Oc­to­ber to se­cure res­cue loans.

Tsipras is said to have asked his min­is­ters to sub­mit de­tails of the mea­sures that fall within their re­mit to­day so a bill can be drafted and sub­mit­ted in Par­lia­ment early next week. In the mean­time, he will seek to over­come any ob­jec­tions within SYRIZA, chair­ing a cen­tral com­mit­tee meet­ing to­mor­row and Sun­day.

With the op­po­si­tion par­ties hav­ing made it clear, dur­ing the three-day de­bate on the gov­ern­ment’s pol­icy pro­gram, that they will not sup­port ad­di­tional aus­ter­ity mea­sures un­con­di­tion­ally, Tsipras can only hope for the sup­port of the 155 coali­tion MPs in the 300-mem­ber House. But the back­ing of all of them is far from cer­tain. Two coali­tion MPs – Costas Barkas of SYRIZA and Nikos Nikolopou­los of the rightwing In­de­pen­dent Greeks – re­acted an­grily to re­ports that the 49 prior ac­tions would be brought to Par­lia­ment in one ar­ti­cle. In com­ments to Skai, gov­ern­ment spokesper­son Olga Gerovasili sug­gested this would not be the case.

The list of prior ac­tions in­cludes the lib­er­al­iza­tion of closed pro­fes­sions and mar­kets, the fi­nal­iza­tion of plans to pri­va­tize Greece’s re­gional air­ports and mea­sures aimed at curb­ing tax eva­sion. A sec­ond list of mea­sures, linked to another loan worth 1 bil­lion eu­ros, will be tougher, with de­layed pen­sion re­forms and in­creased farm­ers’ taxes on the agenda. Farm­ers are al­ready plan­ning protests. Author­i­ties also have Greece’s cred­i­tors to con­tend with. Tech­ni­cal staff have re­turned to Athens ahead of a re­view that Tsipras said he wants to con­clude by the end of Novem­ber to pave the way for talks on debt re­lief.

Greece’s Euro­pean cred­i­tors op­pose the idea of debt re­lief, but the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund re­gards it as in­dis­pen­si­ble. Speak­ing yesterday at an IMF meet­ing in Lima, the Fund’s chief Chris­tine La­garde said that for the IMF to join Greece’s eco­nomic pro­gram, the pro­gram “must stand on two legs.” The first leg should com­prise “sig­nif­i­cant re­forms, par­tic­u­larly on the pen­sion front and in bank gov­er­nance,” she said, and the sec­ond “a debt op­er­a­tion that ren­ders Greek debt sus­tain­able in our as­sess­ment.”

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