NEWS

Greek loan payout hinges on review of reforms, EU official says

The institutions overseeing the Greek bailout program will need to scrutinize the probable impact of the government’s latest reform proposals before the country can receive another loan payout, a senior EU official said.

The European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund — together formerly known as the troika — must assess the overall balance of the measures proposed by the government in Athens. Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has sent details of the latest proposals to euro-area finance ministers.

Greek government spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis confirmed that the details were sent in a letter to Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who presides over meetings of euro-area finance ministers. While Varoufakis is expected to formally present them to his 18 euro-area counterparts at a meeting in Brussels on March 9, there can be no decision on whether they are sufficient before a technical review, the EU official told reporters on condition of anonymity because the discussions are private.

The list includes proposed reforms on fighting tax evasion and regulation of Internet gambling, a government official in Athens said in an e-mail.

Greece’s anti-austerity government has so far been unable to agree with its creditors on the terms for the disbursement of an outstanding aid portion totaling about 7 billion euros. The euro-area finance ministers last month agreed to extend the current arrangement, giving Greece four more months to come up with a suitable reform program.

Technical discussions between the institutions and Greek authorities have not yet started and there is no indication when they are likely to, the EU official said. Contacts between all sides need to improve quickly to ensure a proper review can take place, the official added.

It is unlikely that the bailout arrangement would be extended further, the EU official said.

[Bloomberg]