EU Reacts to Greek Gov’t Plan for Social Christmas Dividend
Brussels opposes a Greek government plan to give needy citizens a social dividend from the 2017 primary surplus, and suggests priority to be given to repayment of State debts to the private sector.
According to an Athens Macedonia News Agency report citing EU officials, Athens is advised to repay overdue debts to the private sector exceeding 3 billion euros.
At the end of last year, the Greek administration was reprimanded for giving 500-euro bonuses to retirees with low pensions, with funds from the higher than anticipated 2016 primary surplus.
The thinking behind EU’s opposition; the officials explain, is that such measures undermine past reforms and the funds should be allocated to development policies, not to welfare dividends. They stress that repayment of overdue debts to the private sector would give a much-needed boost to the real economy.
The technical teams of Greece’s creditors are due to return to Athens on Thursday to assess whether Greece can indeed meet its fiscal target of achieving a primary surplus of 3.5% of GDP in 2018. The heads of missions are due to arrive on Monday.
EU sources say that a staff level agreement is possible before the Christmas holidays.
Also, Greece is expecting the disbursement of 800 million euros pending from the completion of the second review of the bailout program. Creditors consider that the Greek side will be able to present the data on the State’s arrears until October 24. The deadline for the disbursement of the amount is October 31.
Athens still has some “difficult” issues to resolve before the third review of the bailout program, such as the new, independent privatization fund, labor issues and the liberalization of the energy market.
Published in greece.greekreporter.com