Greece and lenders prepare to tackle next set of measures

eKathimerini – Greece and its lenders are due to resume talks on Tuesday after the passing of the 2016 budget on Saturday night and ahead of a new set of prior actions being submitted to Parliament in the coming days.

The heads of the institutions are expected back in Athens on Tuesday for talks with Greek government officials that are due to be concluded by Friday. The main focus of their discussions will be the 13 prior actions that Greece has to pass through Parliament by mid-December in order to receive the next 1-billion-euro tranche from its third bailout.

There are four issues on which the two sides have yet to reach a full agreement.

Greece has to agree a system for the management of non-performing loans (NPLs) but it has not yet decided on which overdue loans banks will be able to sell to private funds. The government wants to exclude all mortgages from these loan portfolios but the lenders have so far only shown a willingness to leave out mortgages for primary homes. Athens would like to include business loans worth more than 1 million euros each but the quadriga does not want any exceptions for this category of loans.

Another outstanding issue is the privatization of electricity transmission operator (ADMIE). Greece and its lenders concur that ownership of ADMIE should be transferred from the Public Power Corporation (PPC) to a public-private partnership but there is disagreement over who should have the controlling stake. The government wants the state to retain control, whereas the institutions want it to be in private hands.

The lenders are also waiting to see the government’s proposal regarding the unified wage grid for the public sector, which has to be approved by Parliament this month and implemented from January 1, 2016.

Greece is also expected to name a task force to set up the new privatization fund agreed as part of the third bailout. Sources told Kathimerini that the lenders are pressuring the government to allow foreigners to hold key management positions in the fund but Athens insists that the agreement made in Brussels in July was for the body to be under Greek management.

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