Greek government: Promises at International Fair. ‘Sleeves up’ in Athens as Troika arrive

Meetings with creditors start on Monday

The Greek PM Alexis Tsipras presented completely new, and cautious set of promises in this year’s speech at the Thessaloniki International Fair, compared to his generous provisions two years ago. Tsipras’s new ‘road map’ was limited to a small relief package of 246 million Euros (the sum of the TV licence tender), maintaining the ENFIA property tax for 2017, and some tax deductions depending on the state of the economy. He also pledged to use the EU Acquis on the labour market to reinstate collective bargaining in the private sector. The stark difference of the two speeches can be explained by the fact that the Greek government will start a new round of talks with the Troika, Monday afternoon, to reach an agreement on the 15 prior actions in order to receive the 2.8 billion Euro tranche. The discussions will kick off with Justice Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos will meeting with the Trokia at 3,30pm on matter of corruption, while Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos is scheduled to meet with the country’s creditors an hour later to talk about the Privatisation Fund, and the staffing of Supervisory Board, as well as the progress on the privatisation front. Tuesday’s talks will focus on energy matters, with the liberalisation of the natural gas market, the signing of the PPC contract with large consumers etc being on the agenda. The lenders’ representatives will also be briefed on the new tax laws abounded by the Greek PM, which includes restricting cash transactions, collecting receipts via plastic money and the voluntary disclosure of ‘hidden money’. The government expects that all 15 prior actions will have been completed before the September 29 EuroWorking Group, paving the way for the release of the 2.8 billion Euros tranche by the subsequent EuroGroup on October 10. The pressure on the Greek government is high, as the Tsipras administration will have to agree on 43 more actions, apart from the 15 prerequisites, that are linked to the second review of the third memorandum.