Athens.- Prime Minister Antonis Samaras or his finance minister, Gikas Hardouvelis, are expected to write to cabinet members this coming week reminding them of the actions that each department has to carry out and the limited time frame in which these measures can be carried out so Greece is prepared for the return of the troika to Athens in mid-September, “Kathimerini” reports.
The government has to complete five more of six so-called prior actions by August to receive the next 1-billion-euro sub-tranche of its bailout. But it also has another 600 more minor actions to complete before the troika comes back to carry out a review of the Greek program.
Samaras is keen that his government is up to speed when the troika returns because he would like the nature of the inspectors’ visits to change. The Greek premier is hoping to convince the troika that they do not need to be in Athens for drawn-out reviews in the future. According to source, he sees this as a way of leading Greece into a post-memorandum era.
The prime minister, however, has to overcome friction within his government about the reforms that are being carried out. PASOK has recently expressed concerns about the way the process of evaluating civil servants is being carried out. Sources at the Socialist party told Kathimerini that they are unhappy with Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis for insisting that in each government department at least 15 percent of employees should be deemed below standard.
PASOK, however, denies that it opposes implementing any of the measures the coalition has pledge to the troika it will adopt.
“The law on evaluation must be implemented as it was voted,” said Interior Minister Argyris Dinopoulos, a New Democracy politician, on Saturday. “Woe betides us if we vote through a law and then start amending it before we even implement it.”
The evaluation process is behind schedule after civil servants’ union ADEDY ordered its members not to take part in the scheme. A court last week found that the union’s actions were illegal. ADEDY’s appeal against that decision is due to be heard this week by the Council of State, Greece’s highest administrative court.
WALL STREET JOURNAL
Greece’s international creditors are considering making debt relief for Athens conditional on reforms in a bid to keep a grip on the country’s economic policies after its bailout programme finishes, according to several officials directly involved in the discussions, Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.
The newspaper reported that Greece’s debt—which stands at 320 billion euros, or roughly 174 percent of gross domestic product—is a question that has dogged euro-zone countries, the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and European Central Bank since November 2012.
“Until now, creditors have put pressure on successive Greek governments, often reluctant to push for painful reforms, by withholding loan installments,” the newspaper said. “But as Greece hopes to wean itself off the international assistance, the creditors’ grip on economic reforms looks set to loosen. That is why European creditors are eager to make debt-relief steps, in particular the extension of its debt-repayment schedule, conditional on Greece meeting policy milestones,” it added.
The report underlined that debt talks are expected to resume in earnest in the fall but preparatory work is already under way. “Despite the IMF’s insistence that euro-zone countries forgive some of Greece’s debt outright, the European side is only prepared to make adjustments to repayment terms,” is said.
Government Vice President, Foreign Minister and PASOK party leader Evangelos Venizelos said that “Greece always lost when the Progressive Democratic Party did not play its role” and called all members of the wider centre-left to rally, in a statement to Karfi newspaper.
Moreover, Venizelos clarified that “the centre-left that we want and in which we belong has nothing to do with New Democracy (ND) or SYRIZA. The antidote to populism is not to follow the political and economic neoliberal mainstream or the opposite. A third solution exists, the responsible solution of the Progressive Democratic Party” he said.
Greece’s creditors will get their money, but not the country, main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras said from Rome on Friday during an address at the Piazza Farnese, in the city’s historic centre.
“We won a critical battle, but the war is still ahead,” Tsipras said, adding that “the governments of creditors are ceding to the private sector public businesses, public assets and public natural assets, violating the supreme criterion of public interest.”
Tsipras took part in an open rally of the Italian ballot “The Other Europe with Tsipras”, which got 4% in the Europarliament elections of May.