ECONOMY

Pressure grows for a new sell-off fund

pressure-grows-for-a-new-sell-off-fund

Greece’s creditors are increasing the pressure on Athens for the creation of a hyper-fund for privatizations. No steps have been taken toward this end yet as the Greek side appears to be in no hurry to do so. The issue will form part of talks at the Euro Working Group today or later this week.

The creditors are calling for the creation of a task force that will propose the setup of the new fund to take over from TAIPED. The Greek government appears to be downplaying the issue, while also seeking a task force that will be under its full control, just as the creditors are eager to have a say in its selection, preferring to see members with strong technical expertise and liberal characteristics.

While the disagreement over the issue could not be described as heated just yet, the creditors’ representatives are said to be opposed to the decisions of ministers who have repeatedly raised obstacles to the implementation of sell-offs, such as Economy Minister Giorgos Stathakis and Infrastructures Minister Christos Spirtzis.

Athens has assured the creditors it will have implemented all the necessary prior actions for the second subtranche of 1 billion euros by December 22, which includes the creation of the aforementioned task force. The Euro Working Group has planned a meeting for today to confirm the list of those prior actions, but this may be postponed by one or two days, as talks between the two sides are still ongoing.

A preliminary informal discussion on these issues will take place between the Finance Ministry and the heads of the representatives of the European Commission and the European Central Bank on the sidelines of a conference to be held in Athens by the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce on Monday. The creditors’ mission is expected to return to the Greek capital after December 6.

The new hyper-fund will have to be ready within the first quarter of next year, meaning that its founding law will have to clear Parliament. That is also the deadline for the drafting of an initial business plan for the utilization of the assets it will manage.