Short-term debt measures for Greece likely to be ´unlocked´ on Wednesday, EU source says

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016
Last Update: 09:03

A consensus to unlock the short-term debt relief measures for Greece decided on December 5 is likely to emerge on Wednesday, in exchange for a letter from the Greek side providing the necessary assurances, a European official told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency on Tuesday.The source appeared confident that full consensus would be reached on the basis of such a letter, in which the Greek side will state in writing its commitment to the targets and processes outlined in the Greek programme.

According to ΑΜΝΑ, another well-informed source, certain member-states expressed concern over the Greek government΄s "unilateral actions" in legislating for handouts and asked that the Greek side provide the said assurances in writing.

The Greek side is expected to send the letters to the member-states by Wednesday afternoon,so that they can then instruct the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) to proceed with the implementation of the measures for the debt.

In order to formally take the decision to implement the measures, there has to be a meeting of the ESM Board of Directors, which is expected to take place before the end of the week. The measures were given then go-ahead after the Eurogroup on December 5 but then suspended when Greece announced plans to allocate a part of the primary surplus in order to hand out a one-off Christmas benefit to low-income pensioners and postpone a planned VAT hike on islands affected by the refugee crisis.

A EuroWorking Group meeting on Tuesday ended "without a unanimous agreement" on whether to implement the short-term debt relief measures for the country, a European official had earlier told ANA, adding that a final decision "will be made on the process that will be followed in the future" by Wednesday afternoon.

The same source noted that the exchange of views at the EWG was conducted "constructively" and that the discussion had focused on the possible options for ΄unfreezing΄ the implementation of the short-term measures for Greek debt.

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