NEWS

Tsipras to present policy program as finance minister braces for Eurogroup

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The government faces a difficult week, starting on Monday with the presentation of its policy program in Parliament by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras as Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos meets his eurozone peers to discuss the tough measures Greece must enforce to secure loans.

Before traveling to Luxembourg on Monday, Tsakalotos is expected to submit the draft budget for 2016 in Parliament. Details of the budget, and dozens of austerity measures Greece must legislate in the coming weeks, are expected to be discussed at the Eurogroup summit.

Meanwhile in Athens, Tsipras is to set out his policy priorities. His speech in Parliament on Monday, which will launch three days of debate and culminate in a vote of confidence on Wednesday, is not expected to include any surprises.

The prime minister is likely to reiterate his commitment to enforcing reforms in order to secure a positive review and pave the way for debt relief.

Tsipras told SYRIZA MPs on Saturday that implementing the bailout “is not going to be easy” but it is necessary “in order to emerge from this system of supervision and regain market access.” He said he aimed to conclude the review quickly so talks on debt relief can begin.

During his visit to the US last week, Tsipras grasped every opportunity to underline the need for debt relief. Officials in Washington encouraged Greece to push reforms.

US Secretary of State John Kerry is to visit Athens in November. Before that, on October 22, French President Francois Hollande is due in the Greek capital. According to sources, Hollande is willing to support Greece as long as it honors its commitments and secures investment opportunities.

Germany continues to hold a tougher line. But Kathimerini understands that there is a readiness to show flexibility in the implementation of the program if Greek authorities improve their response to the migration crisis.

SYRIZA’s so-called parallel program, aimed at softening the impact of austerity, and the search for alternative measures to those in the memorandum are said to have irked eurozone officials.