European Union (EU) officials said a new EUR 65 bln package could involve a mixture of collateralized loans from the EU and International Monetary Fund (IMF), and additional revenue measures, with unprecedented intrusive external supervision of Greece’s privatisation program, HotNews.ro informs, quoting Reuters.
“It would require collateral for new loans and EU technical assistance – EU involvement in the privatisation process,” one senior EU official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
EU is working on a second bailout package for Greece in a race to release vital loans next month and avert the risk of the euro zone country defaulting, EU officials said on Monday. Meanwhile, Greece demanded lower taxes as a condition for reaching a political agreement with the Socialist government on further austerity measures, which Brussels says is needed to secure any further assistance.
Moves to plug a looming funding gap for 2012 and 2013 were accelerated after the IMF officials said last week it would withhold the next tranche of aid due on June 29 unless the EU guarantees to meet Athens’ funding needs for next year.
On Sunday, more than 40,000 Greeks occupied Athens’ main square, staging the biggest protest in over a week against the government.
European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn has warned on Sunday that the EU will also pull out of giving Athens its June loan installment if the International Monetary Fund withholds funds, although the Washington-based organization denied reports that Greece has missed the targets it was set. “We Europeans are setting the same conditions as the IMF,” Rehn said in an interview for the same German weekly Der Spiegel. “The situation is very serious.” Rehn said that the EU would decided whether to release the loan tranche, worth EUR 12 bln in total, following the latest audit of Greek public finances by experts from the IMF, the ECB and the EU.
In a special Kathimerini supplement marking Greece’s 30 years as a member of the EU, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Brussels would continue to stand by Greece. “Some impressive results have already been achieved,” he said of the government’s efforts, “but it will take a little longer until the benefits can be felt.” The supplement also carried an article by Prime Minister George Papandreou, who admitted that Greece’s membership of the EU had not led to the “necessary changes” in several sectors, including the civil service, local government, justice, social welfare and education.