BUSINESS

One milestone needed each day for the bailout review to end

EIRINI CHRYSOLORA

TAGS: Finance, Energy, Privatizations

The government will have to fulfill one prior action per day – including weekends and holidays – if it is to complete the list of milestones of the last bailout review in time for the June 21 Eurogroup meeting, as Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras asked of his ministers this week.

Nobody considers the set target to be attainable: Of the 88 milestones, only 12 issues have shown adequate progress according to the creditors’ estimates. There now are 77 days to complete the remaining 76 prior actions.

In Brussels, it is estimated that the fourth review, and the general agreement on the end of the bailout, will be completed by the Eurogroup meeting of July 12, securing another three weeks. It is also taken as given that a small number of milestones, mainly concerning issues of privatizations and energy, will be incorporated into the post-program obligations. Even this slightly extended timetable will require a huge effort as the pending issues are both numerous and significant.

The main energy issues still pending are the sale of the PPC lignite plants, the elimination of any conflict of interests between Public Gas Corporation (DEPA) and the local gas supply companies (EPA), and the Target Model that the Greek energy market should comply with, including the operation of an energy exchange market.

There are three main stumbling blocks on the privatizations front, namely the sale of gas grid operator DESFA, the concession of the Egnatia Highway across northern Greece, and the promotion of the development of the old Athens airport at Elliniko, which should see the payment of the price by the preferred bidder in June.

There also are crucial issues concerning the pension system: The first regards the recalculation and payment of pensions whose applications are still outstanding, as 13,800 auxiliary pension applications should have been processed by end-March; the second concerns the full implementation of the social security reform, due to the long delay in the issuing of the new Single Social Security Entity (EFKA) regulations. That is now expected by year-end.

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