NEWS

Euro Working Group starts talking Greece

The conclusions of the representatives of Greece?s creditors from their negotiations and inspections in Athens will start being examined on Thursday afternoon at the Euro Working Group (EWG) in Brussels, with a view to a conclusion by next Tuesday, in preparation for the crucial Eurogroup meeting of November 12.

The EWG, consisting of finance ministry officials from all eurozone member-states, will examine the agreement Athens has reportedly reached with the troika ? the representatives of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Group ? which Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras announced on Wednesday and will pave the way for the disbursement of the desperately needed bailout tranche of 31.5 billion euros next month.

The EWG will particularly focus on how the funding gap of Greece until 2016 will be covered, provided that the country will get a two-year extension to its streamlining program, as well as how the sustainability of the Greek debt will be secured.

Other key points in discussions will be the strengthening of the bailout agreement?s monitoring process and the changes to the terms of operation of the special escrow account at the Bank of Greece for the repayment of the public debt. Germany is putting pressure for changes that will effectively lead Greece to conceding its fiscal sovereignty. The government is unlikely to accept all these terms, and it remains to be seen how many of them will eventually be in the agreement expected by next Tuesday.

It is likely that the EWG?s conclusions will be ratified through an extraordinary Eurogroup meeting next week, possibly on Wednesday, with Greece being the only issue on the agenda, which is indicative of the significance of the subject.