Issue of TAIPED experts settled, 7.5-bln-euro tranche looming


The government is trying to wrap up the thorny issue of the case against six advisers to state sell-off fund TAIPED so it can look forward to collecting 7.5 billion euros after the third bailout review is completed. The prospect has helped improve economic sentiment too.

The penultimate article of the multi-bill presented in Parliament this week provides for the extension of the protection from prosecution that TAIPED board members enjoy to the members of the TAIPED Experts Council. The six experts, including three European officials, have repeatedly been accused of “non-beneficial utilization” of 28 properties belonging to the state, drawing a strong reaction from the Eurogroup, particularly the ministers of Italy, Spain and Slovakia, over concerns about their compatriots.

Once the multi-bill, which also settles dozens of other prior actions required from Athens, is voted through Parliament, the road will open for the disbursement of the bailout tranche that provisional estimates put at 7.5 billion euros. Part of that tranche (some 2 billion) will concern the coverage of expired debts while another 2 billion will be used as a safety cushion for the future.

Progress in satisfying the prior actions will be discussed at today’s Euro Working Group meeting, the first to be chaired by Dutch Finance Ministry official Hans Vijlbrief.

Greek representative Giorgos Houliarakis is expected to explain how the almost 20 remaining milestones not covered by the multi-bill will be attained in the 11 days before the January 22 Eurogroup meeting. Most will be introduced through ministerial decisions.

The positive developments on the review front and the decline in unemployment have brought economic sentiment to levels unseen since November 2014, just before the capital flight from Greek banks started. The sentiment index of the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) showed a reading of 101 points in December 2017, from 98.4 points in November. The consumer confidence index also climbed to levels last seen just before the imposition of the capital controls, in June 2015.