Government makes headway with prior actions

The government is aiming to push through a first set of prior actions pledged to the troika by the end of this week in a bid to secure a pending tranche of 1 billion euros in rescue loans, sources have told Kathimerini.

A new zoning plan, to be voted on in Parliament on Wednesday, introduces changes to existing zoning legislation in an effort to attract investment and spur business activity. The reform paves the way for commercial activity in areas that were until now classified as strictly residential as well as along central thoroughfares. Businesses will also be allowed to operate more freely in public green spaces.

Other prior actions on which the government has made progress include plans to abolish a series of third-party charges. As the authorities lack a full list of such levies, an electronic platform has been launched to log them all, with citizens being asked to contribute to it, albeit anonymously.

Among the pending items on the list of the first six prior actions Greece must enforce is a new code of conduct for MPs and ministers. A plan to provide free healthcare and medicines to citizens without health insurance is to be finalized by the end of this week, Health Minister Makis Voridis said on Tuesday. He must also finalize measures reducing the profit margins of pharmacists.

On Monday, the two coalition parties reached an agreement on the part-privatization of the Public Power Corporation which had been opposed by some PASOK MPs.