Greek bailout review stuck ahead of Eurogroup meeting

Greek bailout review stuck ahead of Eurogroup meeting

Athens, November 9, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Zacharias Petrou

The Greek government has reached an impasse in its talks with the country’s creditors which culminated in deadlock over the weekend.

The most serious issues that are still under discussion and need to be settled before Greece can receive more bailout funds are those of dealing with the foreclosures of homes for those with debts; and the abolition of a scheme allowing indebted persons to repay their debts in 100 instalments.

The government wants to guard against individuals and households with non-performing loans losing their homes or being forced to pay large instalments in a short space of time. Creditors on the other hand – with the European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund pushing the most on this issue – want a “culture of payment” being cultivated in Greece.

The Eurogroup on Monday is now considered unlikely to give the “green light” for the disbursement of the next tranche of bailout cash to Greece, amounting to 2 billion euros.

Talks via teleconference between the Greek Finance Ministry – mainly Euclid Tsakalotos & Giorgos Stathakis – and creditors continued over Saturday and Sunday in search of a solution what will pave the way for the review being wrapped up successfully.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has had constant consultations with ministers and other officials involved in negotiations, including Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos and Economy & Development minister Giorgos Stathakis.

Government sources said talks were set to continue until the early hours of Monday morning, a few hours before the next Eurogroup meeting in Brussels.

Alexis Tsipras discussed the remaining open issues with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker by telephone, in a last-ditch effort to settle lingering disputes with creditors.

Troika officials will reportedly begin arriving in Athens next week – possibly on Tuesday – in order for talks to begin on the next set of difficult prior actions that need to be implemented (including social security reform, taxation of farmers, etc.) for the disbursement of a 1 billion euros tranche.

More specifically, they will review and confirm implementation of the first bundle of milestones, and the will set the details of the second, which is the condition for disbursement of another one billion euro tranche.