Athens Digest 11.03.2019

• Low expectations from today’s Eurogroup

• Implementation of reforms is pivotal, says ESM’s Strauch

• Headless body of girl found on Lesvos coast most likely that of 9-year-old refugee

• EBRD to back Aegean Airlines first foray in the bond market

Today is a public holiday in Athens but not in Brussels, where Greece’s post programme progress will be discussed during a Eurogoup meeting. Reportedly, there aren’t many expectations that the Eurozone’s finance ministers will approve the next Greek debt relief measures. According to a eurozone official who spoke to reporters on Thursday, the Commission’s report shows that not all prior actions have been implemented.”I consider it very likely there will not be a decision,” the official said.  Greek media reports have suggested that there may be an emergency Euroworking group session if there are developments before today’s meeting, but pundits see this is scenario as unlikely

Last week, the chief economist of the ESM Rolf Strauch told Athens Digest’s John Papageorgiou in an interview aired on Athens Municipal Radio that the implementation of reforms Greece has committed to will determine the way forward after today’s Eurogroup. “Whatever is possible to do to complete and comply with the commitments by 11 March should be done. And then it will be up eventually to the member states to decide how we can move ahead,” he said. You may find the transcript of the interview here.

The headless body of a girl was found yesterday on a rocky coast on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos. Authorities said the body was most likely that of a 9-year-old Afghan girl that went missing on February 13 when a refugee boat with 51 people on board sank off the island’s eastern coast on its way from Turkey. Another body of an unidentified man was also found later yesterday in the same area.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said on Friday it will back the the first foray of Greece’s Aegean Airlines in the bond market with an investment of EUR22,5m. “The EBRD is supporting the maiden flight of Aegean Airlines on the bond market with a EURO 22.5 million investment in the Greek flagship carrier’s successful debut 7-year EUR 200 million bond issue,” a press release said, adding that funds will finance investment in support of the Greek tourism sector.

Οn Our Radar: Germany warn its citizens in travel advisory that they run risk of arrest in Turkey
At a time when Turkey’s tourism market is on the rebound raising concerns within the competing Greek market, Berlin has warned German visitors that they risked arrest for expressing opinions that may not be tolerated by Turkish authorities. In a revised travel advisory to its citizens, it said “statements, which are covered by the German freedom of expression laws can lead in Turkey to occupational restrictions and criminal proceedings.” The advisory said that German nationals have been arbitrarily detained in the last two years on suspicion they supported the movement of self-exiled Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara says was the mastermind of the botched coup attempt in 2016.