Quartet of creditors’ mission chiefs in Athens Wednesday

The mission chiefs of the four institutions negotiating a third bailout package for Greece – the European Commission’s Declan Costello, the European Central Bank’s Rasmus Rueffer, the European Stability Mechanism’s Nicola Giammarioli and the International Monetary Fund’s Delia Velculescu – will arrive in Athens Wednesday, finance ministry sources said.

Talks on a technical level began on Monday and were expected to be wrapped up by Friday, an official said, adding there could be “follow up” discussions over the weekend under exceptional circumstances.

“Both sides aim to reach a deal as soon as possible,” the official said.

The creditors want a third package of “prior measures” to be voted in Parliament, whereas the government insists that the two voted the Parliament held the previous two Thursdays are all that the agreement with the creditors requires. The Greeks are expected to fight hard to avoid the third vote.

What the creditors demand is for the measures listed below to be voted before August 11, if the new bailout agreement is to be signed next month:

-Further relaxing of labor markets with, notably, fewer restrictions on mass layoffs.

– Complete pension reform by abolishing early retirement option and raising the retirement age.

– Eliminate tax breaks, beginning with farmers.

– Make up for the increased expenditure resulting from a Council of State decision that pension cuts since 2012 are unconstitutional, by finding new spending cuts.

– A single pay scale for civil servants, measures on their assessment and greater facility to move them around.

– Adopt measures suggested by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (the “OECD toolbox”) to eliminate barriers in professions and eliminate restrictions in Sunday shopping.

– Create a new privatizations fund which must gather, over the years, some €50 billion from privatizations, a sum dismissed by many as unrealistically high.

– Legislate the privatization of the electricity network operator and the 10% of telecom company OTE still owned by the state.

enikos.gr, enikonomia.gr, Reuters

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