NEWS

New multi-bill on way as Dombrovskis hopes November target will bet met

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The government is planning to submit a second multi-bill to Parliament on Thursday with the aim of settling a number of unresolved issues ahead of the first review of the third bailout program, which is due in November.

The omnibus bill was being prepared during the visit to Athens of European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis, who told Kathimerini on Tuesday that he was leaving Greece with a “clear understanding and commitment” from the government that it will “work as quickly as possible” to ensure that it is in a position to complete the review in November.

A visit to Athens by Greece’s lenders last week confirmed that only around a third of the 49 prior actions demanded of the coalition had been completed. The government has since set about issuing the circulars and drafting the legislation needed to complete the remaining tasks.

Dombrovskis acknowledged there is “quite a lot of work” for Athens to do over the coming days but that both sides aim to ensure the first review will be completed within November.

“The successful conclusion of the first review would send a reliable signal to the Greeks, the other countries in the eurozone and potential investors that things are back on track,” said Dombrovskis.

Sources in Brussels told Kathimerini that it is unlikely enough prior actions will have been completed by tomorrow’s Euro Working Group and that the aim should be to secure the disbursement of the next subtranche of 2 billion euros by the time eurozone finance ministers meet for the November 9 Eurogroup.

Dombrovskis admitted it is unlikely that the first review can be completed by November 15, which was also the initial deadline for the recapitalization of Greek banks. However, he was hopeful that the review would be concluded within November.

“You need to have the program on track and to complete the bank recapitalization,” said the EU commissioner, linking the two targets.

The visiting official also confirmed that he had discussed the recent sacking of Katerina Savvaidou as general secretary for public revenues with Greek officials but said that the Commission could not intervene in the matter as the judicial process is under way. He stressed, however, that the government must take steps to strengthen the position’s independence.