Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his aides gathered on Monday to discuss tactics ahead of a meeting of eurozone Finance Ministry officials on January 12 when Greece’s progress in implementing reforms is to be assessed amid hopes for speedy conclusion of a dragging bailout review.
According to a government source, the key aim in Athens is to get the bailout review back on track following a break for the holidays.
The same source indicated that Greek officials are planning to broach the unresolved issue of the International Monetary Fund’s role in the bailout at next week’s Euro Working Group session.
Specifically, Athens wants to push for resolution of the issue while reiterating its objection to the IMF’s demands for the legislation of additional contingency measures and for the introduction of more flexibility into the Greek labor market.
Sources in Tsipras’s office struck a reassuring tone, claiming that the country is not under particular pressure at the moment as the economy is showing signs of a gradual recovery and there are no immediate funding needs.
However, for Athens to remain on track with its aim to tap the bond markets this summer, Greece must secure its induction into the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing program by March.
With a March deadline for the QE program, the government is aiming to conclude the bailout review by the end of February at the latest. Any further delay would throw Greece into a new period of upheaval and uncertainty as a number of European countries, including France, the Netherlands and Germany, have elections planned and will be focused on their own issues rather than the Greek problem.
In comments to Sto Kokkino FM, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said he was confident that the bailout review will be concluded without unnecessary delays.