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Government, institutions discuss prior actions at teleconference


The Greek government's negotiating team and representatives of the country's creditors held a teleconference at the Finance ministry on Monday evening, ahead of the tabling in Parliament of an omnibus bill that contains prior actions required to complete Greece?'s third program review.  

According to a government source, the 600-page draft omnibus bill contains provisions that will resolve 50 of the 60 outstanding prior actions, out of a total of 110. The rest will be legislated within the next few weeks through ministerial decisions and circulars.  The government hopes to have approved the bill before the Eurogroup meeting of January 22, which will discuss whether the program review has been successfully concluded and open the way for the disbursement of the loan installment.


 This week, on January 11, the EuroWorking Group is meeting to discuss the progress in implementing the prior actions.  According to the government source, the government was represented by Ministers of Finance Euclid Tsakalotos and Energy George Stathakis, Alternate Finance Minister George Chouliarakis, Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister Dimitris Liakos, and Secretary General for Government Coordination Dimitris Papagiannakos. Cabinet meeting on draft bill  Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras chaired the first cabinet meeting of 2018, focusing primarily on the draft omnibus bill that is expected to be tabled in Parliament by Tuesday, sources said after the conclusion of Monday's meeting.  


Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos made a detailed presentation of the negotiations held with Greece's creditors, the sources said, outlining the gains made by the Greek side. These included an increase in the size of the family benefits' budget from 650 million euros to 910 million euros and priority compensation to employees rather than banks when auctioning the assets of bankrupt companies.  


The meeting was also addressed by cabinet ministers whose portfolios were impacted by the omnibus bill, such as Stathakis, Labour Minister Efi Achtsioglou, Alternate Labour Minister Theano Fotiou and Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis.

 Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias gave a detailed briefing on the negotiations between Greece and Albania to resolve a series of bilateral issues, as well as the position that Athens will support in negotiations with FYROM on the name issue.  According to the sources, the minister said that Athens is going to the negotiations with FYROM on the name issue with the same position presented in 2007-2008, which calls for a compound name with a geographical qualifier for use in relations to everyone (erga omnes).

 The sources also quoted Kotzias as saying that the present government "had inherited problems" from the past, due to a foreign policy approach that favoured "not taking initiatives and expecting to win everything at some point." The foreign minister criticised this approach as "lacking seriousness," the same sources said, while noting that the government had the courage to proceed responsibly to a resolution of problems.  


Draft legislation on Sharia law, presented by Education Minister Costas Gavroglou, also occupied the cabinet, the sources added, noting that it was a first step to imminent "radical changes" concerning this issue.

New rooms Press/Source: ANA-MPA

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