BUSINESS

Creditors worried about delays in Greek reforms

ELENI VARVITSIOTIS

TAGS: Finance

Greece’s creditors have identified serious delays in the implementation of the prior actions required for the completion of the second post-bailout assessment, putting at risk the measures worth 1 billion euros due in March and sending negative messages to the markets about the prospects of the Greek economy.

There is widespread pessimism in Brussels regarding whether Greece will meet its requirements by February 27, but creditor representatives have not ruled out Greece completing the prior actions by the March 11 Eurogroup meeting, if the government raises the pace.

In fact none of the 16 prior actions has been completed to date, but European sources say there has been significant progress on several fronts.

“It would be too difficult for the Greek government to complete all actions required within six days,” a European official told Kathimerini on Thursday.

The biggest obstacle at the moment is the plan to protect debtors’ homes; the draft creditors have received is not satisfactory as they object to the extension of protection to those with corporate loans, and to the expanded criteria proposed.

The creditors are in constant talks with Athens in a bid to find a solution as soon as possible: “We may even reach an agreement in the next 24 hours, it depends on the will of the Greek government,” a eurozone official told Kathimerini.

Other sticking points in the assessment are the repayment of the state’s overdue arrears and the concession contract for the Egnatia Odos highway.

If Athens fails to complete everything by February 27 (or March 11 at the latest), it is possible the Eurogroup might grant Greece an extra month’s time and revisit the Greek issue in the April meeting, although that would be a negative sign for the money markets Greece is hoping to tap.

Meanwhile, the European Stability Mechanism on Thursday announced the appointment of former European commissioner Joaquin Almunia as high-level independent evaluator of the financial assistance to Greece.

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