The Greek government has set its sights on the last Eurogroup of the year, hoping that it will manage to secure from the country’s official creditors higher investment spending through the allocation of SMP and ANFA profits that are due to be released in two tranches next year, and a looser fiscal path from 2021.
The Greek government is hoping to get the all-clear from the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) on Monday to make a loan pre-payment to the International Monetary Fund, a move which Athens hopes will boost its chances of convincing its creditors to lower its fiscal targets for the coming years.
European Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici has given assurances ahead of his visit to Athens on Friday that the Greek government and the institutions will be able to bridge the fiscal gap for 2020 before the draft budget is submitted to Brussels on October 15.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded its consultations with the Greek authorities in the context of its Article IV mission with a statement issued on Friday afternoon in which its staff outline the challenges that the new administration will face.
The talks between the Greek authorities and the heads of institutions concluded on Wednesday as the fourth post-programme moves on to the next stage.
The Greek authorities and the heads of the institutions completed the second day of talks in Athens that left fiscal issues for 2020 still open, although it was not anticipated that the matter would have been settled on this trip, ahead of the draft budget that is due to be tabled to Parliament on October 7.
The first round of discussions between the Greek authorities and the institutions was held on Monday and appears to have yielded the first areas of common ground, and revealed areas that have some way to go still.
The scheduled visit by the institutions for the fourth post-MoU review will wrap up on Wednesday after three days of meetings between finance ministry officials and the heads of the institutions.
Greece has launched the formal process to pre-pay part of the loans it has received from the International Monetary Fund after Finance Minister Christos Staikouras officially requested clearance from the European Stability Mechanism in a letter on Monday.
The fourth post-programme review is due to begin in Athens on Monday, with fiscal issues expected to top the agenda as the government prepared to include the tax cuts announced by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in the 2020 draft budget.