BUSINESS

Talks start next week on post-bailout era

EIRINI CHRYSOLORA

TAGS: Finance

Negotiations about Greece’s emergence from the bailout process this summer and the country’s commitments to follow will begin next week in Athens, with the visit of European Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici and the head of the Commission’s mission to Greece, Declan Costello.

They will be in the Greek capital from Wednesday to Friday, while on Thursday the Euro Working Group will convene, focusing on the debt issue – particularly on the mechanism linking debt relief with the growth rate, as proposed by France.

The eurozone’s finance ministry officials will also discuss the progress Greece has made toward fulfilling the prior actions left open after the January 22 Eurogroup meeting so that the third bailout review can be officially concluded and the installment be disbursed. Sources say that not all milestones have been met yet.

Kathimerini understands that the creditors’ timetable provides for the proposals regarding Greece’s debt to be finalized ahead of the March 12 Eurogroup meeting, so that the International Monetary Fund can activate – if it so agrees – its own program.

This means that procedures are being accelerated so that everything can fall into place without delay. It is in this context that the government’s discussion with the Commission officials are of particular interest, as Moscovici and Costello will have a key role in processing proposals for the country’s future.

Talks will focus on four main parameters: The commitments that Greece will undertake to continue its reforms and not go back on what it has already introduced; the post-bailout system of monitoring, with Costello saying this week it will have to remain strict; the debt and the conditions to be applied on the implementation of measures to lighten it; and the so-called cash buffer, as the most likely scenario is for the creation of a safety cushion of an as yet unknown size, instead of a precautionary credit line.

Online