Athens Digest 29.06.2018

• IMF staff completed Article IV consultations in Athens

• New Democracy poll boost over Macedonia issue

• Probe ordered into death threats against foreign minister

• Sunday ‘machinations’ for Independent Greeks and Potami parties

# IMF Article IV consultations have been completed in Athens. The report is due in July, with markets and Greek creditors expecting it to green-light Greek debt as being viable in the medium term, while maintaining reservations for the long-term outlook, and questioning how the country will be able to simultaneously deliver on targets for high primary surpluses and growth. It is also likely to express the need for faster action to reduce NPLs and introduce more structural changes in product markets, highly-regulated professions, and investment licensing. The Fund is expected to engage in Greece with its post programme monitoring which includes biannual reviews.

# New Democracy has extended its lead in the projected vote to 12.5 points over rival Syriza, with the government’s popularity hurt further by the Macedonia-name issue. A Pulse survey for SKAI television gave Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ party a two-point boost since last May. 62 percent disagree or strongly disagree with the compromise proposed by Athens and Skopje. 49 percent says that Eurogroup’s decision on debt relief was negative/probably negative while 37 says it was positive/probably positive. The poll projections were: New Democracy: 34 percent, Syriza 21.5, Golden Dawn 7.5, Movement For Change 7.5, Communist Party 6, Center Union 2.5 and ANEL 1.5.

# A public prosecutor has launched an investigation into death threats cited by Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias over the proposed Macedonia-name deal. Kotzias told private News 24/7 Radio that he had received some 800 threatening letters and messages over his role in the name negotiations and the Athens-back proposal to rename its northern neighbour as North Macedonia. The letters, he said, had included death threats against him and members of his family, as well as parcels with bullets, vials of blood, and boxes with blood-stained earth. Opponents of the deal, meanwhile, have filed a lawsuit against the proposed agreement at the Supreme Court, describing it as unconstitutional and a threat to the national interest.

On our Radar: Sunday machinations
Two party meetings planned for Sunday could have major implications for the survival of the Tsipras government, 15 months before the next general election is due. Defence Minister Panos Kammenos has called a meeting of his Independent Greeks’ party (ANEL) executive to discuss the Macedonia issue after a party MP quit the government over the proposed compromise. The centrist Potami party, on the brink of quitting an alliance with the Socialist Pasok, has also called a party executive meeting for Sunday. Potami leader Stavros Theodorakis rejected calls from within his party to replace Kammenos in a coalition with Prime Minister Tsipras.