Just a few days remain before troika inspectors return to Athens for their fifth review of Greece’s economic reform program.
The chief aim of the talks is to determine how successfully the Greek state has kept pace with required economic reform. Other key topics include the type of supervision that will be necessary after the European part of Greece’s loan program ends next year, as well as determining whether Greece will require additional outside funding.
Athens has insisted it will not need a third loan program. Eurocrats in Brussels note that this can only be guaranteed if Greece secures the trust of the markets. In order to do this, the country must press ahead with reforms.
Speaking on Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos emphasized that he favored an early withdrawal of the International Monetary Fund, which is technically tied to Greece until spring of 2016. But Venizelos added that the government had not made an official request to the IMF to leave, as this would require the backing of European partners.
Pending structural reforms will also be discussed in the upcoming troika talks. Sources have suggested that the troika is prepared to be lenient on particular matters of reform, but is unlikely to agree to so-called “structural benchmarks” – pension reform, for instance – being struck off the list.
The troika will examine Greece’s finances in great detail. Auditors are prepared to consider allowing tax breaks to be included in 2015’s draft budget, as long as lost revenue is offset by equivalent measures.
Debt relief talks are not expected until early November, when specific budget details and the results of stress tests on banks will have become available.