The assessment will be completed in May and then the agreement for the post-memorandum period is expected in June, including the further alleviation of the Greek debt. This is at least the common goal both of the government and the institutions.
“All pieces of the puzzle will have been put together by June,” a senior finance ministry official estimated yesterday (Feb.26), as he came out of the first meeting of heads of government officials.
From then on, next week, the first round of the government’s contacts with the lenders will be completed, within the framework of the fourth evaluation, and until then the government’s goal is to identify problems of “technical nature”, as noted by the same official, in the list of the 88 prerequisites, so that they can be resolved.
The same Finance Ministry official said after the first meeting with the lenders that what is being attempted in the current phase is to record all the difficulties of the prerequisites in order for the fourth evaluation to close in May and have the so-called global agreement over the debt, in June.
Next tranche within the coming month
With regard to the disbursement of the € 5.7 billion tranche, the same source considered the issue closed, expressing certainty that the disbursement will be made in March while responding to a relevant question saying that neither the question of the objective values nor the general fiscal issue have been discussed. Today, talks will be of a more technical nature while Wednesday’s schedule is expected to include many meetings.
Debt relief to be talked over on March 1st
Meanwhile, there is the debate on the further alleviation of the Greek, with the next formal meeting on the issue expected on March 1st, when the EWG is expected to meet on the issue, while the Greek side is expected to be represented by the Deputy Minister of Finance, George Houliarakis. The results of the debates on debt relief so far, will be first debated at this meeting. Finance ministers have to define the framework until the Eurogroup on March 12.
It is expected that debt alleviation scenarios will be identified on the basis of the French proposal to link debt interventions to the growth rate of the economy. One of the possibilities is the acquisition of the IMF debt by the ESM, something which will ‘lower’ the interest rate of about 11 billion from 3.8% to 1.5%. Also, one of the thoughts is to link the amount of interest and interest repayments to Greece’s public debt to the growth of each year.
The course until June
Beyond that, the role of the IMF in the Greek programme will again be in focus. The issue will concern the Spring Summit of the IMF on April 20-22, in Washington. The course of both the 4th evaluation and that of the debt and post-memorandum negotiations will be part of the agenda of the Eurogroup on May 24.
After all, a fourth assessment, debt negotiations, a memorandum of understanding must be established at the eurozone Finance ministers’ meeting on June 21, in Luxembourg, so that there is enough time for the agreements to be passed in the national parliaments before the summer break…/IBNA