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28/07 – Greek talks to resume this Tuesday
Most European media report that the technical teams of the European Commission (EC), the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Stability Mechanism have arrived in Greece to resume the negotiations on a third bailout programme. According to ERT1, Les Echos and The Malta Times, a spokesperson for the EC,  said “work has started, meaning that the institutions are talking to the Greek authorities,” and the “negotiations on a Memorandum of Understanding should now progress as swiftly as possible.”
Ethnos reports that the Greek Minister of Finance Euclid Tsakalotos said yesterday that the work of the technical teams of the representatives of Greece’s creditors started yesterday and they will be intensified today. Most media report that despite the fact that the government of PM Alexis Tsipras has pushed two packages of measures through the Greek Parliament this month – a necessary condition for the negotiations on a three-year loan programme worth up to €86 billion to keep Greece in the eurozone – the former Troika still expects Greece to implement more reforms. The Commission spokesperson, also quoted in Cypriot media, added that more reforms would also help reinforce trust.
Austrian media reveal that during the talks, troika representatives will have access to Greek ministries and their data. Media recall that the objective will be to end the negotiations by mid-August to allow the European Stability Mechanism to disburse a first instalment of loans in order to reimburse the €7.2 billion bridging loan released on 20 July but also to allow Athens to repay the ECB €3.5 billion on 20 August. Nevertheless, time is still running out as any decision taken during the talks will have to be approved by the Greek Parliament and lawmakers in EU member states, The Wall Street Journal Europe writes.
In an interview with L’Echo, Commissioner Marianne Thyssen emphasised that the EC will evaluate the social consequences of the third programme for Greece after the agreement is reached. All Greek media report widely on the matter, with Efimerida Ton Sintakton referring to the institutions’ representatives as “bloodthirsty employees.” Meanwhile, La Stampa writes that the Athens Stock Market is due to reopen this Tuesday.
Some media also continue to comment on the former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis’s revelations concerning a “plan B” for Greece. In a recording released on Monday he spoke of a contingency plan to create an alternative banking system that could switch to a new currency. Mr Varoufakis said the preliminary plan was authorised by Alexis Tsipras, nonetheless adding that Mr Tsipras did not allow the final plan to be put into action. Slovak Finance minister Peter Kazimir, cited in De Standaard, has said that such a secret plan reveals how untrustworthy Mr Varoufakis was during the negotiations. While Forbes’s Tim Worstall comments that Greece’s plan was at least a decent step forward in solving its main economic problem – its continued membership of the euro – The Guardian’s Nils Pratley writes that this plan was doomed to fail.
In Tageszeitung,Ulrike Herrmann blames the media for scapegoating Mr Varoufakis because of his possible plans for a Grexit while the Grexit, according to her, is happening in reality. Greek media write that Tsipras’s government did not comment on the revelation.
Meanwhile, most Greek media reveal that Alexis Tsipras asked yesterday for an extraordinary party congress to be held as soon as possible to discuss the future of Syriza party. This meeting is expected to take place this Tuesday, during the second day of the party’s Political Secretariat meeting.
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