Athens eyes bond-buying program


The government is desperate to see Greece enter the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing (QE) program, while in the last few days feverish talks have been taking place among all involved in the Greek bailout to find a solution to the Greek debt issue that will open the way for the bond-buying program. The condition in both cases is that Athens successfully and rapidly completes the second bailout review.

Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos and Central Bank Governor Yannis Stournaras met on Monday at the office of Deputy Prime Minister Yiannis Dragasakis. Afterward, Tsakalotos said that “everyone is talking to everyone, there are many players who are interested in finding a solution and this allows us to be optimistic.”

At the same time, a senior bank official said that “there are feverish consultations on a European level, mainly at the initiative of the ECB, to find a commonly accepted solution to the debt issue.”

Finance Ministry officials noted on Monday that all Greece has to do is to meet its obligations in the bailout agreement: “The key is the completion of the second review,” a credit sector official said after the meeting at Dragasakis’s office.

For Greece to enter the QE program, the review must be completed and the debt issue must be settled. As the review is exclusively in the government’s hands, talks under way among the creditors are focused on identifying a package of measures to cover the debt-easing requirements of the International Monetary Fund while not creating a problem with Berlin concerning the IMF’s participation in the program.

The new round of negotiations between Athens and the representatives of the country’s creditors will start at the end of this week instead of Tuesday, due to the death of one of the senior IMF officials. Talks on the technical level begin on Tuesday with experts from the creditors meeting with ministry officials, focusing on the energy market and structural changes for the improvement of the business environment.

This round of talks is projected to end by the end of next week, with the target for the completion of the second bailout review remaining the end of the year.