Agreement reached on measures

Agreement reached on measures

A new multi-bill is due to be submitted to Parliament on Saturday after the government and Greece’s lenders reached an agreement last night on the details of the 13 prior actions that will be included in the legislation and unlock the next loan tranche from the third bailout.

Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos informed journalists that the talks at the Hilton Hotel had been concluded successfully following a compromise on the sale of nonperforming loans (NPLs), which was the last remaining issue to be settled during discussions this week.

The compromise on NPLs was based around the government agreeing that the bad loans of large companies and the unpaid mortgages for properties that are not main residences could be sold to foreign funds. The institutions, meanwhile, agreed that the NPLs of small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as mortgages for primary homes, would not be included in the portfolios banks can sell to distressed debt funds, at least until February.

It was agreed that Greece and the lenders would discuss what to do with the remaining NPLs in February.

The decision means that from January 1 Greek banks will be able to sell some 56 billion euros’ worth of bad loans. The unpaid debt of major businesses amounts to around 40 billion euros, while overdue mortgages that are not for primary homes total around 16 billion euros.

This issue had been the main obstacle to reaching an agreement after the two sides found common ground on the privatization of power transmission company ADMIE on Thursday night.

They agreed that the state would buy ADMIE from the Public Power Corporation and then sell 49 percent of the firm, while the remaining 51 percent stake would remain in public hands.

There was also an agreement on Friday on the unified wage structure in the civil service, which had also been one of the pending issues when the institutions resumed talks in Athens on Tuesday.

The government aims to submit the draft legislation on Saturday so that MPs can vote on it by Tuesday. The Euro Working Group is scheduled to meet on Wednesday to assess the situation and decide if the next 1-billion-euro bailout installment can be disbursed. Greece hopes to receive the funds by Friday, December 18.

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