"It will be a rare event for Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos to go to the Eurogroup in Brussels so relaxed, this Monday. Not so much because the stern Wolfgang Schäuble will not be at the table, since even if he was, he would have no serious reason to criticize him, as the salvation of Greece seems to be on the right track at last," writes German newspaper "Handelsblatt" in a report from Athens.
The quartet of auditors left a week ago with no qualms, as the implementation of the reforms is now proceeding much faster. "The climate of negotiations is constructive and we are seeing substantial progress on this issue," was the mood according to a representative of the institutions, especially on the issue of consolidation of public finances, Athens is ahead of the timetable. Instead of a primary surplus of 1.75% Mr Tsakalotos will secure 2.8%. The Greek government intends to distribute part of the additional surplus of about 1.1 billion euros on Christmas as a "social dividend" with the creditors' consent. Institution representatives also approved the budget for next year to be discussed in the Greek Parliament. The target set for a surplus of 3.5% of GDP for 2018 seems realistic, the German financial newspaper notes.
"The Greek government hopes to complete the current assessment by December 4 so as to pave the way for the disbursement of 5.5 billion euros. The timetable, however, is considered by the circles of creditors as very ambitious," continues Gert Heller, who authored the article.
According to Handelsblatt, "even harder than implementing reforms will be to regain the confidence of the markets. Greece returned for the first time to markets after May 2014 with a five-year bond and the government wants to try again in August 2018 by the end of the program. According to economic circles in Athens, it is expected that in November a further step will be taken to return to the markets. 20 smaller bonds worth € 29.7 billion, which resulted from the "haircut" of the Greek debt in February 2012 will be converted to 4 or 5 newer issues. This exchange aims to improve the liquidity of bonds with maturities between six and 25 years. "
According to the German financial daily, "the Greek finance ministry's goal is to build a 12 to 15 billion-euro financial reserve by the end of the current program next August as a shield against difficult circumstances.
It is also likely that European creditors will create a safety net for Athens to reassure markets. If Tsipras manages to close the current program as scheduled in August 2018, this would be an important political success.
But he can not keep his promise to free his country from the oversight of international creditors. After the three aid programs, 80% of the Greek debt is in the hands of international creditors. The repayment of these loans extends to 2059," concludes Handelsblatt.