Government officials and representatives of Greece’s foreign creditors made some progress in talks on a new set of prior actions with Greek officials saying agreement was reached on a new privatization fund and the privatization of ADMIE, the power grid operator.
According to sources, the agreement on ADMIE foresees the state retaining a 51 percent stake with 20 percent being sold to a strategic investor and the remaining 29 percent being floated on the Athens Stock Exchange.
Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos and Economy Minister Giorgos Stathakis were to meet again with creditor representatives at 11.30 a.m. on Friday with the aim of achieving further progress, particularly on the thorny issue of non-performing loans (NPLs).
The aim is for the package to be completed and voted on in Parliament by Tuesday so that 1 billion euros in bailout funding can be dispensed by December 18. The creditor envoys are set to leave Athens this Saturday.
“We are very close,” a government official told Kathimerini in the early hours of Friday morning.
The same official said there had been some convergence on NPLs, noting however that Greece wants the agreement to include a framework regulating the sale of business loans. Greece wants the loans of small businesses to be excluded from sale to funds
The comments by government officials suggested that creditors have accepted Athens’s request for a comprehensive solution to the matter of non-performing loans to be put off for a while.
NPLs held by small and medium-sized businesses and mortgages are to be discussed in January, one Greek official said, noting that new legislation would determine which NPLs can be sold to funds.
As for the privatization fund, according to sources, Greece will no longer be obliged to raise 50 billion euros over 30 years as per the original agreement in summer but will be bound by the pledge to raise 6.2 billion euros in state selloffs as outlined in the current program.
Talks on the contentious issue of pension reform have been put off until January.
The level of progress in the negotiations is to be assessed this evening at a session of the Euro Working Group.