Athens Digest 11.12.2018

• Costello calls Athens to implement structural reforms

• Tsakalotos rules out return to bad habits

• Disabled terror group bomber denied release

• New property auction round posted by Piraeus Bank

# Speaking at an annual conference organised by Capital Link, the European Commission mission chief Declan Costello reminded the government of delays in fulfilling commitments on privatisation and to modernise Greece’s public administration and the judiciary. “Greece must continue and complete the deep structural reforms undertaken during the program, in particular reforms to improve the environment for business activities and investments, as well as the modernization of the public administration and the judiciary,” he said. Costello also commented that Greece is expected to achieve its fiscal targets in 2019.

# Greece is rebuilding its welfare state with money raised from the budget overperformance and is not returning to its bad pre-crisis spending habits, the finance minister, Euclid Tsakalotos, told investors. He stressed Greece had “turned the page” and was only pursuing growth policies considered to be sustainable.

# Judges have turned down a request by November 17 terror group bomber Savvas Xiros to be released from prison on health grounds. A panel reviewing the 56-year-old’s application ruled that he did not qualify for release and would have to serve at least 25 years of his sentence. Xiros was arrested in 2002 after a botched bomb attack that left him seriously injured and exposed the once-elusive far-left armed group. He is serving five life sentences for participation in five murders, armed robberies, bomb attacks, and membership of a criminal organisation. The U.S. and British governments _ whose embassy and military officials were targeted in 17N attacks _ have publicly opposed the early release or furlough for the group’s jailed members, along with several families of Greek victims.

# Piraeus Bank has announced a January 9-10 open auction on 26 properties on its e-bidding platform. “This process will free up liquidity that will be channelled back into the Greek economy and, at the same time, help make the best use of the properties owned by the bank,” a statement from the bank said. The bidding process includes a “Buy Now” option and listings in English, as well as open days for prospective buyers to visit the properties ahead of the auction.

On our Radar: “Global challenges demand global solutions”
“One country cannot efficiently manage migration on its own,” PM Alexis Tsipras said in a speech to a United Nations conference on migration in Marrakesh. Referring to the refugee crisis back in 2015, Tsipras highlighted that despite difficulties, Greek people showed their solidarity. “Global challenges demand global solutions,” he added.