88 ‘prior actions’ to be implemented until end of current bailout
No less than 15 “prior actions”, what the Commission calls “key deliverables”, remain for Athens to implement in order to receive an upcoming 5.7-billion-euro low-interest bailout loan in February, as part of the more-or-less concluded third review of the current adjustment program.
Another one-billion-euro sub-tranche remains and will be disbursed by European creditors in April, with the latter first waiting to see a universal electronic auction framework up and running, as well as a satisfactory clearance of arrears the state owes the private sector.
Of the 6.7 billion euros, 3.3 billion euros will be used to cover debt maturities; 1.7 billion euros will cover the state’s arrears and the remaining loan money will be transferred into a “cash buffer” that Athens will keep in reserve when it returns to capital markets without creditors’ rescue lines.
A total of 88 prior actions are cited in a compliance report that remain to be implemented until the current bailout – the third successive memorandum since 2010 – ends in August 2018.
One of the measures is a possible reduction in the tax-free annual income tax threshold in 2019, instead of 2020, as planned. Another action is the complete harmonization of VAT rates in the country, which means that a lower rate extended to a handful of eastern Aegean islands will end, as scheduled, in June.
Finally, the leftist-rightist coalition government has committed to a further reduction in state spending for pharmaceuticals, a continued promotion of privatizations and the aforementioned acceleration of electronic auctions of foreclosed real estate.
Total loans to be disbursed to Greece from now until the end of the third bailout in August reach 18.4 billion euros.