NEWS

Lenders to start Greek reform review next week, EC says

lenders-to-start-greek-reform-review-next-week-ec-says

Greece's international lenders will begin a review of the country's reforms next week, the European Commission said on Friday, bringing Athens a step closer to the start of talks on a reprofiling of its public debt.

Greece's international lenders are the International Monetary Fund and the euro zone bailout fund. The reforms that Greece has to implement in exchange for loans are reviewed also by the European Central Bank and the European Commission.

"Mission chiefs will arrive in Athens during the weekend," Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas told a regular news briefing. "Talks could start as of early next week," he said.

To secure a positive progress review, Greece needs to reform pensions, set up a new privatization fund and find measures to achieve primary budget surpluses for 2016-2018.

The head of the euro zone bailout fund Klaus Regling said last Monday he expected the review of reforms to be concluded "before Easter".

Once the review is done, euro zone countries will start negotiations with Athens on how to reprofile the country's debt, owned in most part by the euro zone bailout fund, so as to make annual debt servicing costs more manageable.

Euro zone countries are ready to consider extending maturities, grace periods and interest rate levels.

[Reuters]