Handout plans at focus of visit by monitors this week


Handouts over the next four years, tax and social security debt settlements, and one more market foray, probably between May 9-16, will be at the focus of the government’s agenda for the next few weeks leading up to the May 26 European elections.

However, the mission chiefs of the country’s creditors are also expected in Athens on Monday for what is going to be a brief, three-day visit during which they are expected to avoid any friction with the government even though there are a number of open issues on their agenda.

Interest is likely to focus on talks between the two sides over the handouts the government is planning to announce, as well as on the mechanism for paying off debts to the state and to social security funds in up to 120 installments, which creditors have criticized as undermining the payment culture. The European Commission will consent to the distribution of primary surplus overruns, as long as this is in the direction of expanding economic activity in the country.

The picture will be completed with another market foray. As Monday and Wednesday are holidays in many European markets, the new bond issue is expected right after that, and definitely not in the last week before the European elections. The issue will likely be for a seven-year note, aimed at bringing in 2.5-3 billion euros.