IMF and EU still at odds over Greek fund

Greece and its foreign creditors are still at odds over who will oversee a new privatisation fund, a finance ministry official said yesterday, an issue which must be resolved for Athens to qualify for fresh bailout aid.

European Union and International Monetary Fund mission chiefs began assessing on Monday Greece’s progress on reforms pending for its first bailout review.

Athens initially hoped a deal would be reached this week on all pending issues.

Greece wants to conclude the assessment swiftly to get another €2.8bn in bailout loans and start a second progress review next month, which includes unpopular labour reforms.

It hopes that passing the second review will help it regain market confidence.

Appointing a five-member supervisory board to oversee a new, umbrella privatisation fund is a key term in its €86bn bailout but has become a thorny issue in recent talks.

Creditors have nominated two members of the board and Athens the remaining three. Both sides have veto rights and need to agree.

Earlier this month a French finance ministry official said France’s Jacques Le Pape would lead the supervisory board. However, Athens said no final decision had been made yet.

Incentives to reveal undeclared incomes, reforms to liberalise the energy sector, banks’ bad loans and the transfer of state entities shares to the new privatisation fund, were among the issues still under discussion with the lenders.

Athens took steps this week to speed up the talks. It has promised to fulfil all demanded actions by early October.


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