Greece promises more reforms
ATHENS: Promising to cut pensions and give taxpayers fewer breaks, Greece has paved the way for the disbursement of further rescue funds from international lenders and possibly opened the door to reworking its debt.
Officials from both sides reached a deal yesterday on a package of bailout-mandated reforms, ending six months of stafflevel haggling. Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos announced it with a term associated with papal elections.
“There was white smoke,” he said.
Greece now needs to legislate the new measures before eurozone finance ministers approve the disbursement of loans, probably at the next scheduled Eurogroup meeting on May 22.
Athens needs the funds to repay €7.5 billion (RM35.4 billion) in debt maturing in July.
The Eurogroup meeting, meanwhile, may mark the first formal discussion of debt relief for Greece, an issue that means different things to each side.
The International Monetary Fund reckons Greek debt is unsustainable at 179 per cent of gross domestic product and is reluctant to participate in further funding without a debt relief agreement.
European Union lenders, however, have ruled out forgiving the debt and refused to discuss such things as cutting repayment rates until after a reform-for-cash deal is cut. Both groups of lenders have differed markedly about what Greece’s budget is capable of sustaining.
The Greek government hailed yesterday’s agreement as now allowing the relief go ahead.
“The government believes that this road, despite the difficulties, will lead to the country’s exit from bailouts,” Interior Minister Panos Skourletis told ERT TV. “What’s important after closing the bailout review is to have a roadmap for debt relief.”
Meanwhile, Greece agreed with its lenders to sell coal-fired plants and coal mines equal to about 40 per cent of its dominant power utility Public Power Corp’s capacity, said a source.
The agreement is part of a reform deal Greece and its foreign creditors reached yesterday, paved the way for the disbursement of further rescue funds under the country’s third international bailout.
Greece now needs to legislate the new measures before eurozone finance ministers approve the disbursement of loans.