By Nikos Chrysoloras
The European Commission did not set a date on Tuesday for the return of the inspectors of Greece’s creditors, but said that the decision on the disbursement of the remaining 1 billion euros from the July tranche that is still pending will be made by the Euro Working Group (EWG).
“There is still plenty of work to be done for the fulfillment of the four landmarks for the installment of 1 billion euros… But this work will be conducted on a technical level, without requiring the presence of the troika [i.e. the representatives of the European Central Bank, the Commission and the International Monetary Fund] in Athens,” stated Simon O’Connor, the spokesman of Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn yesterday.
He went on to explain that since the political decision on the tranche had been made in July, it would only take the green light of the EWG for the 1 billion euros to be disbursed, without the need for another visit to Greece by the troika.
The head of the EWG, Thomas Wieser, is now set to visit Athens on October 16, just after the next Eurogroup meeting of eurozone finance ministers.
Wieser will launch the high-level talks on the funding gap of the Greek adjustment program from mid-2014, as well as on the major issue of the sustainability of the Greek debt, provided the budget records a primary surplus this year.
His visit was scheduled as part of preparations for Greece’s undertaking of the rotating presidency of the European Union as of January 1, 2014.
However, sources have told Kathimerini that Wieser’s meetings with Finance Ministry officials will not only be on European issues, such as the bank union and the institutional integration of the eurozone; the aim is to examine the available alternatives and to start the necessary technical preparation so that the Eurogroup is able to make the tough political decisions for the extension of the eurozone’s support to Athens by early December. By then the troika will have also obtained a clear picture about the evolution of the main elements of the adjustment program.