BUSINESS

Four more years of monitoring

EIRINI CHRYSOLORA

TAGS: Finance

Following the conclusion of the bailout program in August, Finance Ministry officials expect a period of monitoring by Greece’s creditors, probably lasting four years, during which the country will be asked to implement the reforms it has committed itself to.

Despite public statements about a “clean exit,” the supervision is expected to be stricter than that which Portugal has been subjected to, although it does not constitute a new program. It is also said that if the International Monetary Fund returns to the Greek program, which is the most likely scenario, it will also participate in the monitoring.

Government officials estimate that the inspections will gradually lessen with the implementation of reforms and fiscal commitments. It is no coincidence that the “increased post-bailout monitoring” is expected to end in 2022, when the obligation for high primary surpluses of 3.5 percent of gross domestic product expires.

Messages about the increased monitoring are reaching the government from various sides as negotiations regarding the post-bailout era intensify. Sources from the creditors said on Friday that their chief representatives are expected in Athens in the last week of February for the start of the fourth review.

European Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici spoke in Athens this week of a mechanism to make sure the government was fulfilling its pledges as part of the “appropriate” post-bailout monitoring, and Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos mentioned a shift in inspections from monitoring means and ends to just monitoring ends.

A key question is which reforms will be monitored in the context of this increased supervision. Government officials speak of just six or seven reforms, mainly those that will not be completed within the program period, such as the cadaster, the casino permit for the Elliniko development, changes to civil administration as well as privatizations after August. At the same time, the government hopes to apply its own program with a growth and social dimension.

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