Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Greece: list of reforms granted in Brussels – The World

Le Monde | • Updated | By

The essential

    • An agreement was approved, after long negotiations Friday between Greece and international creditors for the pursuit of a bailout the country.
    • The initiative for reform is now left to Athens and then approved by the creditors. The Commission believes it is a “valid starting point” for discussions.
    • The left wing Syriza party criticizes an agreement that would extend it believes the austerity measures imposed on the country, the radical left party had yet committed to delete.
The Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, 21 February in Athens.

After the process has been laborious. The government of Alexis Tsipras has sent its list of reforms required by the Eurogroup in exchange for an extension of the aid package to Greece until the last extremity, Monday, Feb. 23 just before midnight, hours prior to a Eurogroup (meeting of the nineteen ministers of the eurozone finance) on Tuesday. “The list seems adequate enough to be a good starting point in negotiations,” was reacting, hot, a European source Tuesday morning.

“draft” of this text made multiple trips between Athens and Brussels on the weekend and the Monday before the deadline: it had to be reworked for hours to be supported enough to hope “pass” of the bar Eurogroup. Then, over the weekend, that of at least four national parliaments, the Bundestag in Germany – like its counterpart in the Netherlands, Estonia and Finland, it is consulted on all that committed public money in the country .

The stakes are high: if this list of reforms is not validated by the Eurogroup, the assistance program, which normally ends February 28, will not be extended by four month

Six dense pages

Since then, the Greek state will be left without financial support from creditors. – the European Central Bank (ECB) and the European Union (EU) – the 1 st of March. According to several sources, banks, which suffered strong capital outflows in recent weeks, could quickly find themselves insolvent.

In six dense pages, the famous “list” when required yet another ” last chance Eurogroup, “Friday, February 20, to find a compromise between the Greeks and their creditors, takes largely Brussels requirements. Most of the reforms already on the document prepared by the “troika” of creditors – must now say institutions” to spare the susceptibility Greek – which imposed severe austerity measures the country since 2010.

Measures “humanitarian” to help the most affected by austerity Greeks included the very last page of the list. The government of the radical left, elected on his anti-austerity program, plans to “meet the needs associated with the progression of extreme poverty through access to food, shelter, health care,” but without entering into details, and stating that these policies will be implemented “ensuring that they do not have a negative fiscal impact” .

The wholesale list the fight against tax evasion and fraud, intended to address the main problems of the Greek administration (corruption, poor tax). These reforms demanded by the troika since 2010, but no government or the socialist PASOK nor the conservative New Democracy (ND), have so far had the political courage to put on track. The aim is the thorough modernization of the tax administration (with the further computerization of statements), strengthening its independence, the search for greater fiscal justice – in Greece, the great fortunes and Orthodox Church still largely beyond the tax.

The Eurogroup message was understood

Athens is also committed on a vast anti-corruption program in administration, a national priority” . By reducing, among others, the number of ministries (from sixteen to ten), “special advisers” and charges of Deputies; by tightening the rules on political funding …

These anti-corruption reforms were recommended by Syriza. However, regarding privatization, yet the bane of the ultra-left party, Mr. Tsipras agrees to not reverse those incurred under pressure from the troika (including that of the port of Piraeus on which Athens threatened to back) and studying privatizations that have not yet launched, so as to maximize the revenue that the state could draw.”

The government Tsipras evokes the minimum wage increase – one of his main campaign promises – but without advancing figures (the famous 751 euros promised to the Greeks) of maturities (of 2016). The Government is committed “a smart approach to collective bargaining on wages. This includes a commitment to increase the minimum wage, preserving competitiveness (…). The increase in the minimum wage and its timing will be decided in consultation with the European and international institutions. “

Athens has clearly understood the message part of the Eurogroup not at all prepared to fund an increase in the minimum wage Greek. Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, who has worked behind the scenes to the conclusion of an agreement between the Greeks and the Europeans warned Monday in an interview with the German weekly Wirtschaftswoche : If Tsipras government to take action, there will be six European countries that have a lower minimum wage” , including Slovakia, Spain, while Athens to continue to support financially. Politically unsellable …

See the interactive visual: Six years of Greek tragedy

The left wing Syriza feels cheated

In all likelihood, the Eurogroup Tuesday should validate that list. The Greek government will not be provided at the end of his troubles, who was forced, less than a month after his arrival at the helm, to comply with European requirements, but must already deal with the left wing of Syriza which has more the feeling of having been swindled …

By the end of April, the Greeks and the Europeans will have to refine the list, study its feasibility, its means of dissecting funding. Then the end of June, they will have two months to put reforms back on track … It was only after a “review” of the institutions on the spot, that the country will receive the last tranche Using rightful part of the aid plan (about 7 billion euros)

Also read (subscribers edition). The agreement of February 20 puts Syriza pressure


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