Lenders re­turn, catch­ing up to do

Only a third of prior ac­tions have been car­ried out as in­sti­tu­tions send top of­fi­cials to as­sess progress

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras con­ferred with his top min­is­ters yes­ter­day ahead of the re­turn of Greece’s lenders to Athens to­day, when they will be­gin as­sess­ing the gov­ern­ment’s progress in com­plet­ing the 49 prior ac­tions re­quired for the re­lease of an­other 2 bil­lion eu­ros in bailout fund­ing.

The top ne­go­tia­tors for the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank, the Euro­pean Sta­bil­ity Mech­a­nism and the In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund – the four in­sti­tu­tions over­see­ing Greece’s progress un­der the bailout pack­age – are ex­pected to re­main in the Greek cap­i­tal un­til Fri­day. Their main tasks will be to eval­u­ate “progress in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the pro­gram, with spe­cial re­gard to the ful­fill­ment of the mile­stones and the out­look of the first re­view,” Com­mis­sion spokes­woman An­nika Brei­dthardt told re­porters yes­ter­day in Brus­sels.

With the aid of the multi-bill ap­proved by MPs late on Fri­day, the gov­ern­ment has so far met 16 of the mile­stones, while there has been either par­tial or no progress on the re­main­der. Most out­stand­ing ac­tions re­late to the need for min­istries to is­sue de­ci­sions and cir­cu­lars, rather than for new leg­is­la­tion to be ap­proved.

This means that the dis­burse­ment of the next bailout sub-tranche of 2 bil­lion eu­ros is not ex­pected un­til next week.

Tsipras’s meet­ing with his min­is­ters was aimed at en­sur­ing that the first re­view will be com­pleted with­out any com­pli­ca­tions.

Fi­nance Min­is­ter Eu­clid Tsakalo­tos, En­ergy Min­is­ter Panos Sk­ourletis, Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Nikos Filis, and state min­is­ters Alekos Flam­bouraris and Nikos Pap­pas took part in the meet­ings.

An­other is­sue that is ex­pected to come up in the dis­cus­sions be­tween the lenders’ rep­re­sen- tatives and the Greek gov­ern­ment is the po­si­tion of gen­eral sec­re­tary for rev­enues Ka­te­rina Sav­vaidou. Tsakalo­tos is thought to have asked her to step aside af­ter she was ac­cused of two cases of breach of duty, but Sav­vaidou has so far re­fused to quit.

The gov­ern­ment’s move ap­pears to have caused con­cern among Greece’s lenders, who fear the po­si­tion’s in­de­pen­dence may be com­pro­mised if Sav­vaidou is forced out be­fore jus­tice has run its course. Sources said that the in­sti­tu­tions ex­changed e-mails with the Greek gov­ern­ment over this sub­ject on the week­end.

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