NEWS

Steps to next installment

The coalition government resumes talks with the troika on Monday not only with the aim of concluding an agreement on a 13.5-billion-euro austerity package and a series of structural reforms but also hoping to beat a tight deadline that requires Athens to have voted through the measures by the time eurozone finance ministers meet on November 12.

Speaking to Saturday?s Imerisia newspaper, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said Greece has covered ?90 percent? of the ground it needs to in order to secure the disbursement of its next bailout tranche, worth 31.5 billion euros.

Several fiscal and structural matters remain to be settled with the troika before the process of approving the loan installment can begin. Athens is hopeful that it will reach an agreement with representatives of the European Commission, European Central Bank and European Commission this week.

It is aiming to have the deal wrapped up by Thursday when the Euro Working Group meets. Eurozone technical officials will prepare an assessment on the Greek package that will be passed to finance ministers when they hold talks, possibly via teleconference, on October 29.

Greece will then strive to submit the measures to Parliament and vote on them by November 12, when the Eurogroup will hold its regular meeting. The government aims to give Parliament eight to nine days to debate the measures at a committee and plenary session level. This means the bills would have to be submitted to the House by November 3, so they could be voted on by midnight on November 11 at the latest.

Sources told Sunday?s Kathimerini that during the next few weeks, the government hopes to convince the eurozone to release another 5 billion euros on top of the 31.5 billion it was due to receive in the summer. Greece?s September tranche was supposed to be 5 billion euros and Athens would like to have these funds to begin reducing government arrears, which have almost reached 8 billion euros.

Of the 31.5 billion euros in the original installment, 23 billion is destined for the completion of the bank recapitalization program and 5.5 billion to cover maturing bonds. The government would like to keep the remaining 3 billion euros as a cushion in case of delays in the disbursement of future tranches.