Ministers press on with talks on banks, privatization

Ministers press on with talks on banks, privatization

Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos and Economy Minister Giorgos Stathakis are to meet representatives of the country’s international creditors at 1.30 p.m. on Tuesday for talks on bank recapitalization and privatization as the two sides boost efforts to secure a deal.

The talks on Tuesday are to focus on bank recapitalization and on the outlines of a privatization program, according to ministry officials who said the aim is to take stock of the first round of negotiations with creditor envoys on Wednesday.

Technical teams were to discuss the thorny issue of labor sector reform from around noon onwards.

In comments to Skai, the government spokesperson Olga Gerovasili said the process of drawing up the agreement will begin on Wednesday.

Government officials have indicated that they want to have a deal finalized and voted through Parliament by August 18 to allow adequate time for loans to be disbursed.

Greece must meet a 3.2-billion-euro payment to the European Central Bank on August 20 or face default again.

Greek authorities must meet a series of creditor demands for a deal to be reached. Lenders want Greece to commit to completing all pending privatizations, including ports, airports and the site of the old airport at Elliniko as well as proceeding with new sell-offs.

As for Greek banks, talks are expected to focus on how to tackle nonperforming loans and on the process for further recapitalization. The banks' needs will be assessed on the basis of stress test results, which are expected by September 4. It is thought the four systemic banks will require at least 10 billion euros.

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