BUSINESS

Gov't edges closer to bailout funds after signing Elliniko deal

TAGS: Privatizations, Economy

The government said on Tuesday that it had met the “final condition” set by the country’s creditors for the disbursement of a 7.5-billion-euro tranche of bailout money after announcing it will move ahead with the sale of Athens’s former international airport at Elliniko.

Government spokesperson Olga Gerovasili said the signing of a memorandum of understanding between TAIPED, the country’s privatization agency, and an international consortium consisting of Greece’s Lamda Development, Abu Dhabi’s Al Maabar and Fosun from China should pave the way for the unlocking of an installment of rescue funds by next week.

The 915-million-euro deal – expected to be finalized in November – was initially signed in November 2014 but was held up by bureaucracy and protests by local authorities.

It is projected to create 10,000 jobs in the short term with a potential of 70,000 when the development is completed.

According to TAIPED officials, the total investment at Elliniko will reach 8 billion euros in the long run.

The signing of the agreement was one of several actions taken by the leftist-led coalition on Tuesday in compliance with creditor demands.

These included the transfer of a 5 percent stake in OTE telecom to TAIPED, and an agreement to give the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) greater access to General Secretariat for Public Revenue data relating to tax collection.

The deal to sell the OTE stake to Deutsche Telekom should move ahead soon, officials said.

All that’s left now, government officials said, are a few “technical questions” which, they added, will not impede the unlocking of the bailout tranche.

Athens expects Thursday’s Euro Working Group to give its approval so that the release of a fresh tranche of money can be ratified by national parliaments in Finland, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia and Estonia.

Once they ratify the deal, Greece will await the approval of the European Stability Mechanism, which is expected to convene on June 16 – the date of a scheduled Eurogroup meeting.

Greece also expects the European Central Bank to reinstate a waiver giving Greek banks access to cheap funding. This is expected to take place by June 22.

Greece desperately needs bailout cash to make debt repayments to the ECB and the International Monetary Fund in July as well as state arrears.

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