At Eurogroup, Greece reminded it has days to pass measures

At Eurogroup, Greece reminded it has days to pass measures

Greece’s lenders said after Monday’s Eurogroup that they are expecting the government to pass another set of prior actions through Parliament in the next few days to release the pending bailout tranche of 1 billion euros.

Following the meeting of eurozone finance ministers, where it is believed that Greece was only discussed briefly, European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici suggested that the 13 measures demanded by the creditors should be passed by the “end of the week.”

“I am counting on this being respected as it is clearly in Greece’s interests to make up for the time that has been lost this fall,” said the Frenchman, who added that the passing of the measures would pave the way for the first bailout review to take place.

Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem was a little more vague, indicating that the prior actions should have parliamentary approval by the middle of the month.

“We called on the Greek authorities to implement these milestones as soon as possible and as agreed,” he said. “The objective is to settle this by mid-December, so that we can focus on some of the major fiscal and structural reforms that are still open and need to be finalized for the first review early next year.”

Earlier, government sources indicated that a meeting between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and several key ministers ended with participants agreeing that the latest set of reforms should be passed by Parliament by December 20 at the latest.

Dijsselbloem also pointed out that only around 5.5 billion euros of bailout money would be needed for bank recapitalization, which is well below the 25 billion initially set aside. He described the recap process as “overall a good success with significant involvement from private investors.”

When questioned about what would happen to the money that would not be needed for the recap and whether they might be used as emergency funds if needed, the Dutch finance minister simply said, “Whatever funds are not needed will not be disbursed.”

Representatives of Greece’s lenders are due back in Athens today to check on the government’s progress in preparing the prior actions. Their visit will also provide an initial sense of how far apart Greece and its creditors are on issues that will be assessed in the first review, which is expected in January. This includes pension reform, for which the government wants to focus solely on increases in social security contributions, an approach that the institutions oppose.

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