Athens Digest 10.05.2018

• PM office puts pressure to speed up reforms

• Greece, FYROM pencil in more meetings

• Parliament approves legislation to allow gay couples to foster children

• OTE profits reflect domestic recovery

# PM office is pressing ministers to speed up in order to fulfill the pending prior actions of the Greek bailout program. Only five of the 88 prior actions have reportedly been completed ahead of next week’s mission heads’ inspection. Meanwhile, progress has been made in overcoming longstanding differences between the IMF and European lenders regarding the Greek debt relief measures. On the other hand, according to the same reports, the new IMF guidelines for countries in currency unions (including financial assurances for the banking sector) may complicate things.

# Greece and FYROM have scheduled additional meetings on the name dispute in the hope of laying the ground for possible talks between Prime Ministers Tsipras and Zaev at the EU-Western Balkan Summit in Sofia next week. Talks will resume informally tomorrow at a meeting in Sounio, south of Athens, of foreign ministers from Balkan countries and the and central European Visegrad group (Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia). On Saturday, Foreign Ministers Nikos Kotzias of Greece and Nikola Dimitrov of FYROM will be joined by UN mediator Matthew Nimetz.

# Parliament has approved legislation to allow gay couples to foster children, after the prime minister spoke in favour of the bill to overhaul adoption and foster care rules. MPs voted 161-103 for the bill that will allow couples in a civil partnership to become foster parents. The change does not apply for adoption.

# Strong demand for pay-TV services and high-speed internet connections has produced strong first-quarter results for telecoms operator OTE. The Deutsche Telekom-managed company said core profit (EBITDA) was up 3.6 percent in the year to EUR 315 million.

On our Radar: On landmark royal visit, Charles gets Marbles reminder
Prince Charles arrived on a historic visit to Greece, a first by a British royal in modern times. Joined by his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, he met Prime Minister Tsipras and President Prokopis Pavlopoulos who at an official dinner renewed Athens’ request for the return of the Parthenon Marbles from the British Museum. “It is precisely this tradition (of friendship between the two countries), combined with the bonds that connect us that leads us to hope that the return of the Parthenon Sculptures will ultimately be successful and will restore the unity of this glorious cradle of our Culture,” Pavlopoulos said.