The fate of the plan for settling tax debts in 120 installments remains unknown, as the government did not present it to the representatives of its creditors during this week’s negotiations in Athens, while a senior official left it open as to whether such a proposal would be submitted at all.
“If we prepare such a proposal – and I am not saying we will – we are going to discuss it with them. But for now we have not sent them anything,” the same official told reporters as he informed them about the course of the second post-bailout assessment that is to be completed on Friday.
It is therefore very likely the new payment programs for tax debts will be postponed, if not canceled altogether. In contrast, the settlement of debts to social security funds as described by the labor minister will become law in February and start applying from March, the ministry announced on Thursday, as the creditors’ technical staff were informed about it during the week.
The creditors’ representatives are therefore leaving Athens without having settled any of the major pending issues, with the deadlines rapidly approaching: On February 27 the European Commission will have to publish its report on Greece’s compliance with the 16 prior actions required for the disbursement of eurozone central banks’ gains from Greek bond holdings.
The same official noted that the creditors “will be annoyed” unless all requirements are met in time, adding that all issues will need to be settled before late February so that the Commission officials can have their compliance report ready for February 27. According to a letter from the Commission’s mission chief in Athens, Declan Costello, earlier this month, the government was given a February 15 deadline. That means there are just 15 working days left to complete all 16 prior actions pending.
Among the most important issues the mission chiefs are leaving behind when they leave on Friday is also the new protection framework for the main residence of debtors that will succeed the provisions of the Katseli law. The same government official said on Thursday that another extension to the application of the law named after former economy minister Louka Katseli beyond end-February appears increasingly likely.