There has been major progress in talks to complete the third review of Greece’s programme, with hopes that a staff-level agreement will be reached before the Eurogroup on December 4, a senior Eurozone official said here on Friday.
“Up until now, this review is going impressively smoothly,” the official said.
Talking about the ongoing negotiations between the Greek government and the institutions’ missions in Athens, which include representatives of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the official reported “good progress” ahead of Monday’s Eurogroup.
This did not mean that everything would be done by Christmas, the same official clarified, pointing out that some 100 prior actions linked to the third review remained to be implemented. One batch of prior actions must be legislated for ahead of Christmas, the official added, and a much larger batch must be made into law in the first week of January.
If all goes well, the Eurogroup Working Group will meet on January 11 and receive the compliance report for Greece from the institutions so that the Eurogroup on January 22 can sign off on the disbursement of the next tranche of loans to Greece, which must then be approved by national parliaments, the official said.
Asked to comment on the prosecutions of former members of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF), the Eurozone official said that Greek justice was independent and “nothing can be done, except to express our concern”. He noted that this affair had caused displeasure but also disappointment in may Eurozone countries.
Regarding the IMF’s continued participation in the Greek programme, the official said that a good decision at the Eurogroup in January will to a great extent satisfy the IMF’s demands on the prior actions.
He noted that talks on Greek debt relief must begin in 2018 and, if the IMF and the Eurozone arrive at a common analysis on the sustainability of Greece’s debt, the IMF is expected to propose the activation of its own programme for Greece.