The countdown is on for an 86-billion-euro bailout deal between Greece and its creditors from the European Commission, European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund and European Stability Mechanism. Members of the Greek negotiation team left the EFC teleconference meeting on Friday evening, shortly before midnight, with smiles that are indicative that the talks are going as planned.
Do the smiles mean that Greece will achieve its goal of a deal before August 20? Senior EU officials present at the EFC teleconference assessed the progress in talks between Athens and its international creditors, by stating that a deal is near. Germany is warning against haste, and member states of the Eastern bloc (Slovakia, Latvia) cannot understand why help is being offered to a country with larger per capita income than their own.
All four institutions locked in talks with Greece gave the thumbs up at the EFC teleconference that Greece is adhering to all that it has agreed to. The path is being cleared for a Memorandum of Understanding before August 15.
Greek Deputy Prime Minister Giannis Dragasakis said on Friday that Greece is close to an agreement without “thorns”, pointing to a deal within the coming week. The next goal of the government is an agreement by Tuesday and Wednesday.
On the agenda in talks at a technical level are:
1) The minimum guaranteed income;
2) Non-performing “red” loans;
3) The recapitalization of banks;
4) Early retirement.
Convergence between Greece and lenders regarding the outstanding issues would mean a deal by Monday so that Greece can pay off its dues to the European Central Bank by August 20. The final touches are being placed on the final form that the Privatization Fund would take and other issues related to taxation, agricultural etc.
Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos on Friday said that recapitalization would include all bans and not just the country’s systematic banks so as to reinforce a complete restructuring strategy.