Athens irked by suggestion review will be drawn out

Athens irked by suggestion review will be drawn out

Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos began a tour of European capitals Friday in a bid to ensure that Greece’s first bailout review passes without any significant hitches, but back in Athens government officials were upset by comments from Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem suggesting that the process could take months.

Tsakalotos met with Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan in Rome Friday on the first stop of his eurozone tour, which will also include Lisbon, Paris, Helsinki, Amsterdam and Berlin before a Eurogroup meeting on Thursday.

According to Finance Ministry sources, the timetable for the completion of the first review of Greece’s third bailout program was one of the main topics of discussion during Friday’s meeting with Padoan.

However, officials in Athens were angry that Dijsselbloem had pre-empted the outcome of talks over the next few days and suggested that the first review, which is due to begin in mid-January, could not be completed in a matter of weeks.

“The stance adopted by some in Europe is familiar now,” said government sources. “Before every negotiation they try to create tension and to make an impact. It has been proved that in the end they are always in the minority.”

The Greek government is expected to receive the first official reaction at the beginning of next week from its lenders on the pension reform proposals it put forward this week.

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