Moscovici cancels trip to Athens for second ‘prior actions’ list

The European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs Pierre Moscovici and the European…

The European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs Pierre Moscovici and the European Commission’s ‘troika’ delegate Declan Costello were scheduled to visit Athens on Wednesday and Thursday for a series of meetings, however it was cancelled due to the passing of Mr. Moscovici’s mother.

Greek authorities will have to submit a detailed list to the Euro Working Group, which has arranged to meet on Wednesday, the 21st of October. The goal, according to Mr. Moscovici, is to promptly complete the review by the end of November, so that the recapitalization of the banks can in turn take place by the 15th of December, without a haircut of uninsured deposits.

Second wave of strict measures imminent

The second list is set to include a number of critical and controversial changes and reforms, many of which were delayed due to the elections. In essence the government will have to introduce additional measures worth 3.2 billion euros for 2016-2019, in order to achieve a 3.5% GDP primary surplus for 2018 onwards.

Additionally the list will include provisions to establish a new legislative framework for auctions of primary residences, the management of ‘red loans’, the gradual abolition of farmer benefits and EKAS solidarity benefit among others. The list will also incorporate proposals from the OECD toolkit on market reforms (such as sale seasons and the sale of fresh milk and bread). The government must also include alternatives, should it wish to avoid any further pension cuts.

The technical teams that arrived in Athens last Friday however have told To Vima that they have not yet received any proposals for reliable alternative measures. The government needs alternatives in order to maintain the EKAS benefit, avoid the controversial 23% VAT on private education and tutoring, abolishing the 5-euro ‘ticket’ for hospitals and the sale of the Independent Power Transmission Operator (ADMIE)

Scheduled meetings

On Wednesday Mr. Moscovici was to meet Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at Maximos Mansion at 5pm, before visiting the Ministry of Finances for talks with Minister Euclid Tsakalotos and Alternate Minister Giorgos Houliarakis at 6pm. Thursday’s meeting include the Governor of the Bank of Greece (at 9:45am) and the Minister of Labor Giorgos Katrougalos (10:45am).

A press conference would then follow at the offices of the EU delegation in Athens, after which point the European Commission was planning on attending a power lunch with Economy Minister Giorgos Stathakis. Mr. Moscovici will visit the archeological site of the Acropolis to observe the restoration efforts, which are in part funded by the EU.

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