Greece’s creditors back in Athens | 2018-05-17 |

Greece’s creditors back in Athens

    16th May, 2018 10:36:19 printer

ATHENS: Greece's creditors were back in Athens on Wednesday to tie up the loose ends of an agreed programme of reforms as the country's third and final bailout comes to an end.

With a meeting of eurozone finance ministers set for June 21, teams of experts from the EU, the ECB and the IMF were scheduled to meet with the Greek government to discuss its privatisation drive, an overhaul of the civil service and the deregulation of the state-dominated energy market, reports AFP.

"We want to reach agreement in June for a clean exit from the programme, an exit not accompanied by a precautionary credit line," government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said Tuesday.

The creditors' attention will focus on the continued supervision of Greece's fiscal adherence, which Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos has termed "enhanced surveillance".

While assessments have taken place every six months in other post-bailout countries, monitoring visits are likely to be more frequent in Greece's case, Tsakalotos told the Financial Times last month.

In a growth plan put to eurozone finance ministers in April, Athens has reportedly pledged to keep its primary budget surplus -- the balance excluding debt payments -- at 3.5 percent of output until 2022.

In turn, Athens wants to reduce taxes, increase social spending and gradually increase the minimum wage.

"As we are constantly exceeding primary surplus (targets), at some point austerity relief measures need to be discussed," Tzanakopoulos said.

"Exceeding the targets every year by 1.0, 1.5, 2.0 percent works against growth," he said.

Greece, which has been bailed out three times, is also hoping for further debt relief from its creditors, through options including longer maturity dates, interest rate freezes and the return of profits from Greek government bonds held by European central banks.