BUSINESS

Total agreement seen in June

ELENI VARVITSIOTIS

TAGS: Finance

The completion of the fourth bailout review that has been plagued by significant delays is an “exceptionally crucial” part of the agreement for Greece’s emergence from the program, according to a senior eurozone official.

Speaking ahead of Friday’s Eurogroup meeting in Sofia, the same official said that the objective set is for a staff-level agreement in May, “which I consider hard but not impossible,” he added.

The same source stressed that “the 88 milestones have so far been satisfied to a very small degree,” and added that most of them constitute action following on from legislation already in place. At the same time he noted that the major issues remain open, such as the energy sector reforms and privatizations.

The eurozone official explained that unless the review is completed, the discussions on measures to ease Greece’s debt cannot be concluded and the post-program framework cannot be agreed.

That is why Friday’s meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Bulgaria will also discuss the post-program period and the way in which debt-easing measures can be associated with the country’s monitoring. However, the same official made it clear he would not like to raise expectations for a provisional agreement in Sofia; he said the main goal will be to have the final decisions in June, “when all the elements of the package will be in place,” highlighting once again that the creditors must first see the review wrapped up.

“Everything will be decided when the review is done, and that will happen in June. We will have an agreement in June – I do not like hearing people speak about after June, because that does not help,” he said.

He went on to underscore that the total agreement will include the deal on easing the debt, the monitoring of the country after the expiry of the bailout program, the completion of the fourth review and the decision on the size of the cash buffer Greece will obtain with the fourth review to allow for its safe return to the markets.

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