Three key dead­lines for a deal

Gov’t and cred­i­tors need to pro­duce some progress in bailout re­view talks by De­cem­ber 5 at the lat­est

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY SOTIRIS NIKAS

The gov­ern­ment and the coun­try’s cred­i­tors have three land­mark dates ahead of them in their ef­fort to strike a staff-level agree­ment for the sec­ond re­view of Greece’s third bailout. The timetable is par­tic­u­larly tight, with En­ergy Min­is­ter Gior­gos Stathakis say­ing yes­ter­day that al­though the dead­line is press­ing, achiev­ing the tar­get re­mains re­al­is­tic.

The first key date is next Mon­day, Novem­ber 21. Un­til then the cred­i­tors’ chief rep­re­sen­ta­tives will be in Athens for the ne­go­ti­a­tions with the gov­ern­ment on the sec­ond re­view. Ac­cord­ing to sources, they will de­part from Greece on Tues­day, and there will be a short break due to hol­i­days in North­ern Euro­pean coun­tries and Thanks­giv­ing in the US.

The sec­ond land­mark date is Novem­ber 28, when the Euro Work­ing Group con­venes. The cred­i­tors will have to present the progress in the ne­go­ti­a­tions, as the orig­i­nal plan­ning pro­vided for the staff-level agree­ment to be ready by then. This, how­ever, ap­pears very dif­fi­cult now.

The third and most im­por­tant date is De­cem­ber 5, when the Eurogroup will hold its last meet­ing of the year. All sides are work­ing to­ward pre­sent­ing some sort of progress then (it is pos­si­ble the cred­i­tors will re­turn to Athens be­fore that date) for po­lit­i­cal ap­proval to be granted on the staff- level agree­ment, and then talks on eas­ing the Greek debt can be­gin.

As of­fi­cials fami­lar with the mat­ter say, in this sce­nario a num­ber of is­sues still pend­ing from the sec­ond re­view could be de­fined as mile­stones for im­ple­men­ta­tion in the fol­low­ing month.

Yes­ter­day the sec­ond round of talks started with the par­tic­i­pa­tion of Stathakis, Fi­nance Min­is­ter Eu­clid Tsakalo­tos, Al­ter­nate Fi­nance Min­is­ter Gior­gos Hou­liarakis, and Econo- 1.0765 my Min­is­ter Dim­itris Pa­padim­itriou. The meet­ing set the timetable for the ne­go­ti­a­tions, and ac­cord­ing to Stathakis, with a bit of good will from both sides, a deal could be reached within the timetable.

A lit­tle later Tsakalo­tos and Stathakis had another meet­ing with the cred­i­tors on the new pri­va­ti­za­tions fund, which should start op­er­at­ing from Jan­uary, though its rules of op­er­a­tion and its board ap­point­ments re­main pend­ing.

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