Gov’t focus to shift to boosting positive narrative

Gov’t focus to shift to boosting positive narrative

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his cabinet can hope for a few more days of respite before a return to work next week, when the focus is expected to be on preparing for a visit by French President Emmanuel Macron scheduled for September 7 and 8 and for Tsipras’s speech at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) a few days later.

Tsipras’s first meetings are due on Tuesday and Wednesday and are expected to concentrate on honing a narrative according to which Greece’s battered economy is turning a corner. Talks are not seen shifting to the thorny matter of reforms being demanded by the country’s international creditors until at least mid-September.

A scheduled visit by Macron to Athens in the first week of September is expected to consolidate that narrative as he has supported Greek calls for debt relief and the easing of austerity policies that have driven a recession over the past seven years.

The first challenge for Tsipras will be to win over the country’s political and business elite on the weekend of September 9 and 10, the culmination of TIF. He is expected to outline incentives for investors and may provide details about the interest of French companies in the Thessaloniki Port Authority.

His government is expected to come under criticism for failing to deliver on a series of key promises, chiefly as regards the hated property tax, known as ENFIA, which the SYRIZA administration did not revoke as pledged.

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