Greece-Creditors Unlikely to Complete Bailout Program Review Before 2017

Creditors representatives left Athens on Friday without meeting with pertinent Greek ministers to negotiate the progress of the third bailout program; talks will continue via teleconference.

Development Minister Dimitris Papadimitriou and Energy Minister Giorgos Stathakis returned from the U.S. on Friday, after participating in the Capital Link conference on Thursday.

Labor Minister Efi Achtsioglou was in Brussels on Wednesday and Berlin on Thursday where along with Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos and participated in the European Left conference on Friday.

The labor minister did not have a single meeting with the institutions, despite the fact that the crucial issue of labor market reforms is still open with great differences between the two sides.

European Commission Chief Spokesperson Margaritis Schinas made a brief statement about the creditors’ representatives departure from Athens saying that negotiations on all issues will continue via teleconference.

The next Euro Working Group session is likely to make an assessment of the talks so far, but no decisions can be taken on the Greek program. Euro zone finance ministers have not decided yet if the Christmas bonuses on pensioners and the easing of VAT on Aegean islands will have an impact on the 2016 budget.

Furthermore, Greece reacts to the participation of the International Monetary Fund, claiming the organization insists on impossible demands of Greece. However, European institutions believe the IMF participation is essential to the program.

The first Eurogroup for 2017 is scheduled for January 26, and this is likely the time that euro zone finance ministers will make any decisions on Greece.