- Tsipras government `more or less on track' under new bailout
- European Commission vice president heads to Athens next week
Greece is on course to qualify next week for a 2 billion-euro ($2.3 billion) disbursement from the country’s new international aid package, European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said.
“Things are more or less on track,” Dombrovskis, who is due to visit Athens on Oct. 26-27, told reporters on Wednesday in Brussels. Asked whether the Greek government would likely gain the 2 billion-euro tranche next week, he said: “I would say so.”
Whether the euro area unlocks fresh funds for Greece under its 86 billion-euro aid program is an early test of the credibility of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s second government in 10 months. After catapulting to power in January on pledges to roll back budget austerity, Tsipras took Greece to the brink of a euro-area exit by stonewalling with international creditors before accepting further fiscal curbs in exchange for the country’s third rescue in six years, losing hard-line members of his Coalition of the Radical Left party and calling Sept. 20 national elections in a successful bid to win a fresh governing mandate.
Economic-overhaul legislation that the Greek parliament approved last Friday fails to meet all the conditions for the upcoming tranche and further talks are needed with international experts overseeing the rescue package, two euro-area officials have said in the past week on the condition of anonymity.
The top negotiators for the four institutions supervising Greece’s progress under the bailout package will be in Athens from Oct. 21 to Oct. 23 to discuss “progress in the implementation of the program,” Annika Breidthardt, a spokeswoman for the commission, the European Union’s executive arm, told reporters on Monday. The four organizations are the commission, the European Central Bank, the European Stability Mechanism -- which is the euro area’s permanent financial backstop -- and the International Monetary Fund.
The scheduled 2 billion-euro payment is part of an initial 26 billion-euro segment under the latest rescue program, as is a follow-on disbursement of 1 billion euros for which Greece has yet to qualify. The first segment also includes about 13 billion euros that Greece used to repay debt and 10 billion euros earmarked to recapitalize Greek banks.
Dombrovskis is due to meet Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and other senior government officials during his upcoming visit to Athens, according to the commission. Dombrovskis said his talks there would cover, among other things, “legislative developments” in Greece.