Greece must complete most pending bailout reforms by
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[September 18, 2017]
ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece must
complete most of the pending reforms agreed with its official creditors
by November in order to speed up the conclusion of a key progress review
and exit the bailout in time, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told his
cabinet on Monday.
Greece's bailout progress is being reviewed by its lenders on a
quarterly basis and the next review is expected to start in October.
Tsipras has promised to make the country financially independent by
2018, when its third rescue program expires.
"We must show our determination to wrap up the third review as soon as
possible," Tsipras told ministers.
"I would like us to have completed most of the reforms demanded under
the third review by November, to avoid giving anyone excuses, at home or
Sending a message to lenders, Tsipras said on Monday that Greece does
not need more belt-tightening but measures that will help boost growth
as it emerge from crisis. Last week, he urged them to act in "good
faith" and help Greece meet its goals.
"I believe we all realize, including our lenders, that at stake is the
strengthening of growth and not discussing further intensifying fiscal
restrictions," he said.
The 2018 budget, banks' bad loans, the energy market and privatizations
will be among the main issues in the upcoming review. Previous
inspections dragged on for months due to disagreements on fiscal issues,
labor reforms and debt relief.
The European Central Bank's mission chief in Greece, Francesco Drudi,
told a Greek newspaper on Sunday that lenders will assess a number of
bills adopted by parliament which may not be in line with program
commitments, adding that any backtracking could "complicate" the review.
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Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras speaks during a news conference
at the annual International Trade Fair of the city of Thessaloniki,
Greece, September 10, 2017. REUTERS/Alexandros Avramidis
Tsipras' term ends in 2019, a year after the 86-billion euro bailout expires.
The leftist leader hopes to win another term but his party is trailing the
conservative opposition in polls.
Last week, days after he promised benefits for the vulnerable at the end of the
year, more jobs and investments, Eldorado Gold Corp threatened to freeze its
Greek projects blaming years-long permit delays.
The government has also been struggling for more than a week to contain an oil
spill from a sunken tanker which spread to some of Athens's most popular
beaches. Opposition parties and activists accused it of delays and a lack of
Tsipras on Monday said the government should intensify its efforts. He also
urged his ministers to speed up work that is not related to bailout reforms in
the coming months.
(Reporting by Renee Maltezou; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)
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