NEWS

Government to roll pending measures into new multi-bill

government-to-roll-pending-measures-into-new-multi-bill

The government is planning to include all outstanding reforms being demanded by Greece’s creditors in a another multi-bill which is likely to go to a vote by the end of next week.

The pressure is on following Monday’s Eurogroup, where officials urged Greece to adopt all the prior actions in an initial list drawn up by lenders along with more reforms on bank governance by the beginning of next week. In exchange, creditors will unlock a 2-billion-euro loan tranche and release 10 billion euros set aside for the recapitalization of Greek banks. A session of the Euro Working Group scheduled for Monday is to assess whether Greece has met the conditions for funding to be released.

The key sticking points in negotiations with creditors topped the agenda at a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras Tuesday. The thorniest issue relates to the level of protection to be offered to households struggling with mortgage repayments. Athens has made some concessions but creditors are pushing for more.

Other issues that must be resolved include the alternative measures that will offset a revoked proposal for a value-added tax on private education, the terms of a payment plan for debtors and a minimum price for generic drugs.

Although reaching a deal will require painful compromises by Greece, Tsipras told his cabinet that Athens’s hard line on sensitive measures represented a small victory.

As in previous cabinet sessions, Tsipras underlined the importance of the government enforcing aspects of its so-called “parallel program,” which is aimed at easing the impact of austerity, alongside measures pledged to creditors. Tsipras asked his ministers to give him their proposals for how this should be done by the end of next week.

Another issue discussed during Tuesday’s cabinet meeting was the ongoing refugee crisis. Tsipras is due in Malta Wednesday for a European summit on the refugee problem. He is expected to push again for a European approach to the problem ahead of his planned visit to Turkey next week where the issue will also top the agenda.