Euro zone deputy finance ministers have recommended Greek bailout review talks continue in Athens, a government official said on Friday, as Athens and its creditors seek a deal on reforms to unlock aid.
EU/IMF mission chiefs were expected to decide later today whether they would return to Athens, to wrap up talks on a technical agreement ahead of a meeting of euro zone finance ministers in Malta on April 7.
NAN reports that the talks would involve representatives from the creditor institutions, the European Commission, the European Central Bank, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and the IMF and from the Greek government, including finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos.
On July 23, 2015, Greece began formal talks on a proposed 86 billion euros bailout after parliament voted for reforms demanded by its creditors.
230 members of parliament backed a package of reforms, while 63 voted against.
The prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, who is under growing pressure to call early elections, managed to contain the rebellion in his own ranks.
A total of 36 Syriza members of parliament voted against or abstained on the measures, three fewer than at a similar vote on July 19m 2015.
The outline agreement on launching talks for a third bailout included transferring up to 50 billion euros worth of state-owned assets to a privatisation fund, reforms to pensions, an overhaul of the VAT code.
It also involves the imposition of “quasi-automatic” spending cuts if the government fails to meet targets for a primary surplus, the amount that tax income exceeds spending.
The former finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, voted for the measures after opposing the first round of reforms that included pension cuts and VAT increases in a vote the previous week.
In this case, Varoufakis said, the specific measures being voted on included reforms he had put forward himself.
MPs had less than a day to consider about 900 pages of legislation, covering a sweeping reform to Greece’s civil justice courts and new rules to deal with failing banks.
The conclusion, agreed in 2015, of the second review of the bailout programme, has been blocked for several months.
The main obstacles are the reforms of the labour market and of the pension system, as well as the fiscal targets that need to be reached after the end of the programme in 2018.
In total, the Greek government needs to adopt measures that will cut spending by 1.9 billion dollars and increase revenues by 1.9 billion euro.(Reuters/NAN)