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Athens laying groundwork for bailout program conclusion

April is expected to be a crucial month for the Greek government in terms of its efforts to conclude its bailout program in August 2018.

Ahead of talks with international creditors as part of the fourth and final review of the adjustment program, Finance Ministry officials are preparing for this month’s Eurogroup meeting, in which the government’s post-bailout growth plan will be presented.

Groundwork for the timely conclusion of the fourth review’s 88 prior actions is also being laid, in order for an unofficial deadline to be met in July 2018, by when the final review could be concluded.

Government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos told Ethnos on Sunday newspaper that in the post-bailout era Greece will have more freedom to determine its own social and economic policies. He added, however, that creditors will continue to monitor the economy, to determine that agreed fiscal targets are being met.

Commenting on additional pension cuts agreed to take effect in January 2019, the spokesman pointed out that “everything depends on the country’s fiscal performance and the agreement that will lead to the end of [economic] surveillance”.

Athens insists that it desires a “clean exit” from the bailout program, with no precautionary credit line.

Analysts point out that Greece’s Eurozone creditors and the International Monetary Fund will decide the conditions attached to the post-bailout arrangement that will be put together for the Mediterranean country in coming months.

Meanwhile, Naftemporiki newspaper quotes a creditors’ source as saying that while “a successful exit from the (memorandum) program is on the horizon”, a “sustainable recovery is still not guaranteed”.

According to the same source, the following conditions are required for Greece to achieve a sustainable recovery: the Eurogroup to apply measures needed to ensure the sustainability of Greece’s debt; and the Greek government to fully implement the fiscal and structural reforms that it has legislated, as part of the ESM program.

Speaking on Athina984, Yannis Maniatis, former PASOK minister and Kinima Alalgis deputy, noted that the government has no plan for what happens the day after the return of the country to the market, while accusing the government of deliberate deceit and lying to the public.