NEWS

New loan deal may be in the pipeline

With top-ranking representatives of Greece?s international creditors due to arrive in Athens on Tuesday for a crucial audit, it has emerged that the International Monetary Fund is planning to draft a new agreement with the government that would foresee the disbursement of some 30 billion euros more in emergency loans than originally pledged in return for quicker implementation of structural reforms and more austerity measures.

Finance Ministry officials confirmed on Monday that there was a possibility of Greece extending the existing memorandum — the name given to an agreement signed between the government and its creditors last May — or being bound to a new pact.

Sources told Kathimerini that the IMF foresees the pledging of between 80 and 100 billion euros in loans to Greece by 2013 — that is some 30 billion euros more than the loans Greece was promised in the original memorandum. Of the 110 billion euros pledged in this original pact, Greece has received 38 billion euros so far.

A new memorandum would set out new goals and a time frame for the implementation of reforms and of a privatization drive that aims to raise 50 billion euros by 2015. It is expected that the government will be asked to announce another 6 to 7 billion euros? worth of austerity measures.

Meanwhile Greece?s eurozone partners have made it clear that they do not want to offer any more loans without guarantees. They want the country to use state assets as collateral for all the loans it receives.

Greece?s creditors have been pressing ruling PASOK to seek a consensus on reforms with the conservative opposition New Democracy. But, according to sources, ND leader Antonis Samaras has no intention of obliging, even if this prompts early elections.