Athens Digest 19.06.2018

• Creditors’ to-do list nears completion

• Political debate over FYROM’s name agreement goes on

• Far-right lawmaker arrested over parliament outburst

• Greek gas deal paves way for end of bailout programme

• Plastic bag use plummets after charge introduced

# A pending list of prior actions has been reduced to a handful of items, according to Greek officials, following a teleconference between creditors and the members of the government. Thursday’s Eurogroup agenda includes: “Elements related to the surveillance framework that will apply after the programme, the size of the final tranche of financial support by the ESM, and the possible debt measures.”
Discussions regarding the agreement on the post bailout period are ongoing, focused on no roll back of the implemented reforms and sound fiscal policies in the future. Reportedly, this agreement will be signed but it doesn’t have to be approved by the parliament.

# The political debate between the government and the opposition over FYROM’s name agreement was escalated after a FAZ report claimed that -according to sources in Berlin- conservatives’ leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis has repeatedly committed that as Prime Minister he would not cancel an agreement on the name. “FAZ’s publication is false from the first to the last word” says New Democracy in its announcement.

# Extreme right lawmaker Constantine Barbarousis has been arrested on charges of sedition after urging the military to arrest the government and stop Greece reaching a name deal with the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia. Barbarousis made the comments in an outburst in parliament during last week’s censure motion debate.

# Public gas corporation DEPA and Dutch energy giant Shell have reportedly wrapped up negotiations for the acquisition of 49 percent Attiki gas supplier and Attiki gas distributor for greater Athens. The EUR 150 million deal is subject to approval by EU competition authorities, and paves the way for the smooth conclusion of the bailout programme, having been set as a prior action by creditors. Greece will launch a tender in November to privatise DEPA’s commercial operations in a process that will split the company.

# Plastic bag use in Greece has plummeted at by as much as 75 percent at supermarkets and other outlets where a compulsory charge was introduced in January, according to preliminary first-quarter data announced by the Independent Public Revenue Authority. Before the charge, Greeks used around 300 plastic bags per person per year.

On our Radar: Socialists struggle to hold union together
As Greece heads towards the next general election, the center-left Movement for Change is showing increasing signs of strain, raising the risk of a possible breakup just a few months after its founding congress in March. The coalition of parties that includes Socialist Pasok and the centrist Potami is under pressure from divisions over the FYROM’s name issue as well as possible election alliances. The center left is likely to hold the balance after the next election, but Potami leader Stavros Theodorakis and Pasok’s Fofi Gennimata are at odds over how the new party coalition should be run. Gennimata won the leadership race for the Movement for Change last November.