Fo­cus on bailout re­view

Gov’t aim­ing to con­clude talks quickly so it can join ECB’s QE pro­gram in March

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras and his aides gath­ered at the Max­i­mos Man­sion on Mon­day to dis­cuss tac­tics ahead of a meet­ing of euro­zone Fi­nance Min­istry of­fi­cials on Jan­uary 12 when Greece’s progress in im­ple­ment­ing re­forms is to be as­sessed amid hopes for speedy con­clu­sion of a drag­ging bailout re­view.

Ac­cord­ing to a gov­ern­ment source, the key aim in Athens is to get the bailout re­view back on track fol­low­ing a break for the hol­i­days. The same source in­di­cated that Greek of­fi­cials are plan­ning to broach the un­re­solved is­sue of the In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund’s role in the bailout at next week’s Euro Work­ing Group ses­sion. Specif- ically, Athens wants to push for res­o­lu­tion of the is­sue while re­it­er­at­ing its ob­jec­tion to the IMF’s de­mands for the leg­is­la­tion of ad­di­tional con­tin­gency mea­sures and for the in­tro­duc­tion of more flex­i­bil­ity into the Greek la­bor mar­ket.

Sources in Tsipras’s of­fice struck a re­as­sur­ing tone, claim­ing that the coun­try is not un­der par­tic­u­lar pres­sure at the mo­ment as the econ­omy is show­ing signs of a grad­ual re­cov­ery and there are no im­me­di­ate fund­ing needs. How­ever, for Athens to re­main on track with its aim to tap the bond mar­kets this sum­mer, Greece must se­cure its in­duc­tion into the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank’s quan­ti­ta­tive eas­ing pro­gram by March. With a March dead­line for the QE pro­gram, the gov­ern­ment is aim­ing to con­clude the bailout re­view by the end of Fe­bru­ary at the lat­est. Any fur­ther de­lay would throw Greece into a new pe­riod of up­heaval and un­cer­tainty as a num­ber of Euro­pean coun­tries, in­clud­ing France, the Nether­lands and Ger­many, have elec­tions planned and will be fo­cused on their own is­sues rather than the Greek prob­lem.

In com­ments to Sto Kokkino FM yes­ter­day, gov­ern­ment spokesman Dim­itris Tzanakopou­los said he was con­fi­dent that the bailout re­view will be con­cluded without un­nec­es­sary de­lays.

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