Greek MPs to vote on prior actions as next loan tranche is lined up

Greek MPs are set to vote on Monday evening on a draft law containing a set of so-called “prior actions” demanded by the troika in order for further bailout funding to be released.

Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras wanted the prior actions, which include laws relating to Greece’s amended bailout agreement, tighter fiscal control over ministries and the deregulation of some sectors of the economy, to be approved on Monday to coincide with the start of the Euro Working Group’s preparations for a Eurogroup meeting on Monday, January 21.

The European Commission noted on Monday that Greece had passed last week a tax reform law raising income and corporate taxes, paving the way for the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) to release the January tranche of Athens’s bailout funding, worth 9.2 billion euros.

Opposition parties had raised over the weekend objections to the prior actions being included in edicts rather than a draft law, thereby preventing proper debate in Parliament. In the end, the actions were included in a single bill, which rapporteur Costas Skrekas of New Democracy was part of the reform drive Greece needed to help its economy recover.

PASOK’s Christos Gogas admitted that the coalition government had pushed the parliamentary process to its “limit”.

SYRIZA and Independent Greeks also voiced concern over the text of Greece’s amended loan agreement, which is also included in the bill.

Part of the amendment states that Greece “irrevocably and unconditionally waives all immunity to which it is or may become entitled, in respect of itself or its assets, from legal proceedings in relation to this Amendment Agreement, including, without limitation, immunity from suit, judgment or other order, from attachment, arrest or injunction prior to judgment, and from execution and enforcement against its assets to the extent not prohibited by mandatory law.”

The two parties have suggested that this means Greece could lose its assets and natural wealth to its creditors. Coalition MPs dismissed this interpretation, pointing out that any seizure of Greek assets would also need approval of local courts.

PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos accused opposition MPs of “intentionally misleading” voters.

Greece also expects the International Monetary Fund to approve on Wednesday the disbursement of 3.4 billion euros, its share in the latest bailout instalment for Greece.

Next month, Athens hopes to receive 2.8 billion euros after meeting the targets set by its lenders.