NEWS

Government faces crucial 10 days

The next 10 days will be crucial for Greece with the International Monetary Fund ? one of the country?s three foreign creditors to approve the release of its share of the next 8-billion-euro loan tranche on Monday, December 5, and officials of the IMF, European Commission and European Commission, or the troika, set to return to Athens on the following Monday, December 12.

Gerry Rice, an official from the IMF?s external relations department, said that the fund?s managing board was to convene on Monday in Washington to consider Greece?s progress in implementing economic reforms and decide on the release of the sixth tranche. Another important meeting is scheduled for Monday in Paris with French President Nicolas Sarkozy expected to receive German Chancellor Angela Merkel for talks on the broader debt crisis in the eurozone ahead of the next European Union summit on December 9 when the French and German leaders are expected to propose radical changes to EU treaties.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Lucas Papademos oversaw the launch of a debate in Parliament on Friday on the national budget for 2012 which is to be voted on on Tuesday. It was decided that a draft bill overhauling the tax code would be submitted to Parliament later this month.

Legislation foreseeing mergers of state companies, the opening of closed professions and an increase to contributions to auxiliary pension funds are also to be submitted in Parliament in coming weeks.