Greece seeking progress at Eurogroup meeting to conclude bailout review


The Greek government is seeking tangible progress at the forthcoming Eurogroup meeting in Brussels on Thursday to conclude the delayed second review of the Greek bailout with no further delays, according to Greek officials.

“Our aim is to find common ground and achieve progress during Thursday’s meeting in order to quickly conclude the review without legislating additional measures so that Greece can participate in the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing program,” Greek government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos told a regular press briefing on Tuesday.

“Athens was willing to agree on the extension of the automatic contingency mechanism for one more year after the end of the current third bailout program in 2018 in case of an agreement in all the other issues so to alleviate doubts mostly International Monetary Fund’s,” Tzanakopoulos added.

There will be no need to activate the mechanism and implement more austerity measures, he said.

Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos who will present Athens’ proposals over the pending issues during the Eurogroup meeting, also urged for swift progress in an interview with local daily “Ethnos” (Nation).

“No one gains from inaction, no one wants a repetition of 2015,” he said referring to the year Greece came close to the brink of default as negotiations with its international creditors dragged on for several months before the sides agree on July 2015 on the third Greek bailout since 2010.

Concern over a possible return of uncertainty is mounting in recent weeks as the second review of the third bailout which was initially scheduled to close in 2016 has stalled over diverging views on thorny issues, including fiscal targets and labor reforms.

During the upcoming meeting the Greek side expects that eurozone finance ministers will give the green light for the immediate return of their envoys to Athens to restart the talks which stopped in mid-December.

Should the two sides reach a compromise within the next few weeks Greek officials expect that the next Eurogroup scheduled for Feb. 20 can ratify the conclusion of the second review.

In order to move forward towards further debt relief to exit the crisis, Greece also expects that IMF will also soon determine whether it will join the third Greek bailout.

The Fund has yet to be convinced that the current fiscal targets can be met and pushes for supplementary austerity measures. Enditem

Source: Maria Spiliopoulou , Xinhua/

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