A top eurozone official is expressing optimism that Greece and its creditors will have reached a technical agreement ahead of Monday’s scheduled Euro Working Group meeting, as “substantial progress” has been noted in talks between the two sides this week.
The same source, speaking on condition of anonymity, underlined that around 100 preconditions must still be met by Athens before completion of the third bailout memorandum review.
One package of reforms must be passed into law before Christmas, and a much larger basket of reforms must be legislated in the first week of January.
If all goes according to plan, the Euro Working Group, by its meeting on 11 January, will have received the compliance report from creditors.
That is the prerequisite for the 22 January Eurogroup to approve the next loan tranche to Greece. That, in turn, must be approved by the national legislatures of all eurozone member-states.
“Until now, the talks are proceeding remarkably smoothly,” the source said.
Debt reprofiling a top aim
Regarding the participation of the IMF in the Greek programme, the eurozone official said that if there is approval at the 22 January Eurogroup, it would in large measure satisfy the IMF’s preconditions.
The much-awaited discussions on a reprofiling of the Greek debt is expected to begin in early 2018, and if the IMF and the eurozone agree in their analysis of the viability of the Greek debt, then the IMF will propose activation of its programme for Greece.
Meanwhile, the Eurogroup is set to elect its next president on Monday, to replace the outgoing Jeroen Dijsselbloem.