Envoys from Greece’s international creditors are due back in Athens to push reforms passed by the ruling SYRIZA-led coalition.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ administration of his Leftists and the far-right Independent Greeks got the measures through a Parliament it controls with a bare five-vote majority.
Greece needs a positive review from the Quartet of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank-European Stability Mechanism (EU-IMF-ECB-ESM) to get a pending two billion euros ($2.27 billion) from a third bailout of 86 billion euros ($97.6 billion).
Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos is expected to ask for more time to implement the tough conditions which broke SYRIZA’s anti-austerity promises. He said that recession estimates in the draft budget he prepared – 2.3 percent of Gross Domestic Product this year and 1.3 percent next year – are overly pessimistic.
He wants to get rid of some of the harshest measures but those are precisely the ones the Quartet wants and are aimed mostly at workers, pensioners and the poor again while the oligarchy Tsipras vowed to crush remain above th fray and largely unaffected and even while prospering in the crisis.
Tsakalotos wants to eliminate a 23 percent Value Added Tax on private schools that Tsipras opposed, supported, opposed, supported and now opposes. The government also want to go easy on pensions cuts as the Premier stepped over his own so-called Red Line in agreeing to more reductions on the elderly.