NEWS

Athens to focus on completing six prior actions before troika returns

Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis and his team are this week to focus on the implementation of the six so-called prior actions that should have been fulfilled in May to secure the release of a June tranche of rescue loans worth 1 billion euros.

Hardouvelis, who has been fully briefed in recent days on outstanding commitments to the troika by his predecessor Yannis Stournaras, is said to be aiming to complete those six prior actions before the anticipated return of troika mission chiefs to Athens in the first week of July.

Some of the six measures have already been taken. A new law governing street markets has been adopted and new zoning legislation has been passed. A list of third party taxes is being revised alongside the creation by the Development Ministry of an electronic platform where businesses and individuals will be able to log all such levies.

A code of conduct for MPs and ministers, which is aimed at curbing corruption, must still be finalized. The Finance and Justice Ministries are expected to issue an agreement regarding an action plan for the collection of debts to the state.

Finally the new Health Minister Makis Voridis must enforce new legislation curbing the profit margins of Greek pharmacists.

A further six prior actions, linked to the release of another 1 billion euros in rescue loans, are expected to be completed in August so that the money can be disbursed in September.

Finance Ministry officials said the country must show that it is 100 percent committed to honoring its pledges if it is to press lenders on its own priorities including the launch of talks in the coming months on a lightening of the country's debt.

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