Clouds gather as bailout review hangs in balance

Clouds gather as bailout review hangs in balance

The protracted delay in wrapping up the country’ bailout review is beginning to take a heavy toll on the government’s plan of action for putting the country on the path to economic recovery.

The leftist-led administration was initially aiming to complete the review by the end of 2016 at the latest in order to begin in-depth negotiations on debt relief and enter the European Central Bank’s (ECB) quantitative easing program before heading back to international markets.

The latest blow came last Thursday at a meeting of the Euro Working Group, which Athens expected would trigger the return to Greece of the creditors’ technical advisers to resume negotiations. But again, nothing came out of the talks that would meet the government’s expectations, and Athens will now have to wait for a meeting of the ECB’s board on March 9. In anticipation of the ECB, the coalition is now hoping for the review’s completion by late February or early March.

However, despite the government’s effort to raise the alarm over the consequences of the delay in wrapping up the review, it has recently sounded a more defiant tone, saying it is in no hurry as it can “cover costs over the next few months.”

The toughening of its stance has raised eyebrows at home and abroad as, to many observers, it brings to mind the acrimonious negotiations that took place in the summer of 2015, which pushed Greece to the brink of a eurozone exit.

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