NEWS

Gov't races to tie up loose ends on Elliniko, OTE, other reforms

TAGS: EU, Politics, Economy

The government was given additional time on Monday by foreign auditors to tie up loose ends in order to unlock further bailout funding as officials edged toward agreement on a series of reforms.

Several issues were just a few details from completion on Monday, including the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Greece’s privatization agency, TAIPED, and a consortium of Greek, Chinese and Arab companies that has secured a lease for the site of the capital’s former airport at Elliniko.

With the MoU expected to be signed on Tuesday, TAIPED’s chairman Stergios Pitsiorlas is to meet Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Minister of State Alekos Flambouraris to brief them on the agreement.

Although signed in November 2014, the deal had been suspended due to protests by local authorities and bureaucracy.

The MoU clarifies a few aspects of the deal, including obliging the consortium to undertake most of the costs of maintaining a huge metropolitan park the consortium plans to build at Elliniko.

Another action that creditors are awaiting is the transfer of a 5 percent stake in OTE telecom to TAIPED.

Foreign auditors are also insisting that the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) have greater access to the data of the General Secetariat for Public Revenues relating to tax collection.

A senior Finance Ministry official indicated that the 7.5-billion-euro tranche is likely to be disbursed toward the end of the month as, assuming that a summit of eurozone finance ministers approves the release of the cash, the decision must still be ratified in a number of eurozone parliaments.

As officials scramble to tie up loose ends for the bailout review, the government is putting together a committee of legislators who are to compile a proposal for a review of the Greek Constitution.

The panel is to present its proposal on July 24, the date of the restoration of democracy in Greece in 1974 following the fall of a military dictatorship.

According to sources, Labor Minister Giorgos Katrougalos and SYRIZA MEP Costas Chrysogonos, both professors of constitutional law, are to be on the committee along with Interior Minister Panayiotis Kouroublis.

Kouroublis said the government’s proposals for constitutional reform would be “radical.”

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