Athens Digest 27.04.2018

• Juncker supports “clean-exit”, Greece presents its growth programme

• MinFin Tsakalotos admits frequent post bailout reviews

• Greek Foundation of Economic and Industrial Research warns for minimal growth trap

• Anarchist group steps up activism

# Greece presents its long-awaited growth programme to lenders today, during a Eurogroup meeting in Sofia, following a public commitment made to Jean-Claude Juncker that post-bailout governments will not repeat mistakes that crashed the country’s economy. The Commission president was in Athens to praise the “remarkable” progress made and support the Tsipras government’s resolve to deliver a “clean exit” in August. In return, he received a pledge that Greece would stay on a path of fiscal responsibility.

# Meanwhile Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos told the Financial Times he expected Greece to receive more frequent inspections than other post-programme countries. Finance Ministry officials stressed the additional inspections did not imply additional measures.

# A leading Greek think tank says it expects the economy to grow by 2.1 percent this year, slightly under the EU forecast of 2.5 percent. In its quarterly review, the Foundation of Economic and Industrial Research, or IOBE, said the unemployment rate is set to dip just below 20 percent by the end of the year. It warned the government that it should rely on Europe’s recovery and press ahead with administrative and cost-cutting reforms to avoid being caught in a minimal growth trap that could keep the expansion at around 1 percent for a decade.

# Members of the anarchist group Rouvikonas have staged a protest inside the offices of the British Council in central Athens, protesting recent airstrikes in Syria.
More than a dozen members of the group scattered flyers in the building, stepping up a protest campaign that has triggered a heated political row. In recent months, the group has targeted embassies, ministries, and public meetings attended by members of the government. Its activities have prompted opposition conservatives to accuse the government of being weak on law-and-order issues.

On our Radar: Pressing deadline for F-16 upgrade
Top Greek military and government officials are expected to make a decision on the upgrade of 85 F-16 fighter jets. The cost of the proposed agreement is up to EUR 1.1 billion and the offer expires on 30 April. The government is worried high advance payments sought for the venture could clash with its commitments to bailout creditors to deliver high primary budget surpluses over the next three years.