The roadmap out of the cri­sis

Gov’t of­fi­cial ex­plains the con­di­tions needed for the econ­omy to re­cover and the coun­try to hit the mar­kets

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY ELENI VARVITSIOTIS

BRUS­SELS – Athens wants to agree with its eu­ro­zone peers on a roadmap that will lead Greece out of the eco­nomic cri­sis and back to the fi­nan­cial mar­kets, ac­cord­ing to a gov­ern­ment source. For that to hap­pen, though, a se­ries of tar­gets have to be met first.

The first is the sign­ing of a tech­ni­cal agree­ment by Novem­ber 28 at the Euro Work­ing Group be­fore the next Eurogroup meet­ing on De­cem­ber 5. The same source added that meet­ing this tar­get will set the stage for the start of a de­tailed dis­cus­sion on eas­ing Greece’s debt. The sec­ond tar­get con­cerns a staff-level agree­ment be­tween the cred­i­tors and Athens on the sec­ond re­view by the De­cem­ber Eurogroup, and the third is the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the short-term mea­sures for the eas­ing of the Greek debt, which the same of­fi­cial ex­pects to be “more am­bi­tious” than an­tic­i­pated.

Cru­cially, the fourth goal is Greece’s in­clu­sion in the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank’s bond-buy­ing pro­gram (QE), as that will boost the coun­try’s liq­uid­ity, as­sist its re­turn to the mar­kets with the is­sue of three-year bonds, lead to the lift­ing of cap­i­tal con­trols and even­tu­ally ter­mi­nate the bailout process.

“Ev­ery­one at the Eurogroup agreed Greece needs a clear exit plan from the pro­gram by 2018. For Greece to re­turn to the mar­kets then it first has to en­ter the QE process, which in turn means the lift­ing of the cap­i­tal con­trols after an agree­ment on the debt,” the same of­fi­cial said. He also spoke of a pos­i­tive at­mos­phere at the meet­ings and a friendly at­ti­tude by se­nior In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund of­fi­cial Poul Thom­sen. As for the medium-term mea­sures to ease the debt, the same source said they will be for a five-year pe­riod and will con­sti­tute a com­bi­na­tion of fixed in­ter­est rates, longer grace pe­ri­ods etc. 582.20 1.1038

The key to all this is the de­ter­mi­na­tion of the pri­mary bud­get sur­plus tar­gets after the pro­gram ex­pires in 2018.

Two Euro­pean of­fi­cials said that there was no agree­ment on this at the meet­ing held after Mon­day’s Eurogroup by the Euro Work­ing Group rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Ger­many, France, Italy and Spain, the group’s head Thomas Wieser and of­fi­cials from the ECB, the IMF and the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion.

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