Athens Digest 07.02.2019

• Creditors unhappy with Greek progress

• T-Bill demand grows at latest auction

• Deputy PM: New first residence protection scheme due in February

• New Democracy claims government hiding retirement backlog

• Bids in for lignite plant sale

# In a latest sign of discontent, a European official has expressed disappointment at the lack of progress made on reforms promised by Greece. Briefing reporters in Brussels, the official said the “Greek government is lacking in the speed of implementation” of the reforms. A decision on on whether Greece had met the requirements to receive an installment of ECB bond profits promised under debt relief measures tied to post-programme implementation is expected at the March 11 Eurogroup meeting,

Demand has increased at Greece’s latest T-Bill auction as yields continued to improve. The Public Debt Management Agency said Greece raised EUR 812 million in a 13-week T-Bill auction with demand for the requested amount of EUR 625 covered 2.1 times and the yield at 0.50 percent, from 0.67 percent in a January sale. The coverage ratio at the previous auction was 1.83. The announcement follows the January 29 5-year bond auction that raised EUR 2.5 billion with a yield of 3.6 percent.

The deputy prime minister, Yannis Dragasakis, says new draft legislation for the first residence protection scheme required for banks to proceed with bad-load reduction plans will be submitted to parliament before the end of the month. Dragasakis, speaking in parliament, argued that the issue required very careful handling to “gauge the societal and fiscal implications at each stage” and avoid any unnecessary capital demands for Greek banks. He also referred to recent statements made by Bank of Greece Governor Yannis Stournaras that Greek banks had already weathered most of the difficulties they had faced.

Opposition has accused the government of hiding a growing backlog of retirement claims. In a notice sent to Labour Minister, 54 MPs from the New Democracy conservative party claimed that the government was “employing methods to artificially conceal the real number of outstanding pension claims,” adding that conditions at the new Unified Social Security Fund, EFKA, were in “total disarray” _ in contrast with assurances given by the government.

Two bids for the sale of coal-fired plants have been submitted to the Public Power Corporation, company officials said, adding that an improvement had been requested from the bidders. The officials said PPC’s board of directors will meet tomorrow to evaluate the bids.

On Our Radar: Valentine’s Day Talks?
Greek and Turkish defence ministers, Evangelos Apostolakis and Hulusi Akar are expected to meet in Brussels next week on the sidelines of the North Atlantic Council’s meeting of defence ministers at NATO Headquarters on February 13-14. The two ministers, who both switched careers as heads of their respected armed forces, will try to establish a new channel of communication between the two countries and pick up the confidence-building process after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras concluded his two-day trip to Turkey.