ECONOMY

Troika inspection will be no walk in the park

The next assessment of the Greek bailout program’s progress by the inspectors from the country’s creditors – the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank – scheduled to start next week, is expected to be exceptionally difficult. Speaking to reporters on Thursday, a senior eurozone official said that the upcoming assessment will be “less boring” than the previous one, which lasted for two months.

“We shall have many interesting things to discuss in the coming weeks with our Greek partners,” the same official said poignantly, while confirming that the state of affairs in Greece will not be on the official agenda of the informal Eurogroup meeting of eurozone finance ministers on Friday in Lithuania, given that the inspection of the adjustment program by the eurozone technocrats and the IMF is still pending.

In a press conference on Thursday, IMF representative Gerry Rice reminded reporters that in the previous assessment in July, the inspectors had concluded that Greece had achieved impressive progress on the fiscal adjustment front but needed to increase its efforts in the domain of structural reforms.

As things stand, Greece will be at the focus of the formal Eurogroup meeting on October 14 in Luxembourg, with the aim of completing talks on covering the financing gap seen arising in the summer of 2014 during the following meeting of eurozone finance ministers on November 11 in Brussels.

All that is conditional upon the completion of the mission of the creditors’ inspectors in Athens so that Greece’s eurozone partners have the new data regarding the country’s funding needs and the national debt’s viability projections at their disposal. The last scheduled session of the Eurogroup before the start of the Greek presidency of the European Union is on December 9.

Meanwhile the Eurogroup is on Friday expected to ratify the disbursement of the next installment of the support mechanism’s funds to Cyprus. A high-level European official noted yesterday in Brussels that there are no open fronts and the Cypriot program is on course for implementation.

The disbursement of the 1.5-billion-euro tranche is expected to take place on September 27, while an installment of 86 million euros is also expected from the IMF during the same period.

In contrast, there are considerable worries in Brussels regarding the climate of political instability in Portugal.