Athens Digest 09.07.2019

• Creditors tell new government commitments must be kept

• New cabinet to sworn in today

• PPC needs rescue program, says next energy minister


# Creditors told Greece’s new government last night that key commitments could not be changed, stressing that pledges made were tied to the country’s credibility. “Commitments are commitments. If we break them, credibility is the first thing to fall apart _ that brings about a lack of confidence and investment,” Eurogroup President Mario Centeno said after a meeting of euro-area finance ministers. The ESM’s Klaus Regling described Greece’s 3.5 percent primary surplus target as a “cornerstone” of the rescue programme, and added: “It is a precondition for additional debt relief measures. And it’s very hard to see how debt sustainability can be achieved without that.” The remarks came hours after Kyriakos Mitsotakis was sworn in as the new prime minister and membeAthrs of the next cabinet were announced (full list here).

# PM Mitsotakis’ ministers will be sworn in today. Former interim PM Panagiotis Pikrammenos will be the new Vice President of the government. Christos Staikouras was named as the new finance minister, a 45-year-old engineer and economist who was an alternate minister at finance and spokesman for financial affairs while in opposition. The foreign affairs portfolio was handed to Nikos Dendias, 59, the Samaras government’s tough-assignment minister having already headed public order, defence, and development. From the right of the party, ND vice president Adonis Georgiadis will be the new development minister. And poaching from Pasok, veteran public order minister Michalis Chrysochoidis returns to the post under the conservatives, tasked with taking on resurgent anarchist violence in Athens. Chrysochoidis worked closely with the governments of Britain and the United States when authorities broke up the November 17 terror group in 2002.

# Greece’s next energy minister says the Public Power Corporation needs a government-backed rescue plan. “There is no strategic investor on the horizon _ there isn’t one because the company is run down and there is no interest,” Kostis Hatzidakis said, speaking a few hours before his position was officially announced. “Basically, we need a rescue plan for the company and that is something that’s in everyone’s interest.”
Hatzidakis will also have to deal with PPC’s troubled sale of its lignite-fired power units,   cited by creditors as one of the country’s major delays in agreed reforms. He said the government, having won a strong mandate, would be able to “front-load” its reform program with six or seven major legislative initiatives by the end of the year, to unlock major investments and further plans for administrative reform.



On our Radar: Beautiful Game Needs Reform Too 
It’s not only the new government that’s promising to streamline its administration: Don’t forget football. The head of Greece’s top-flight Super League told Reuters in an interview that a new playoff format will be introduced next season while the number of teams playing in the championship will be reduced by two to 14. Minas Lysandrou said the changes were aimed at making matches more attractive to fans and sponsors. Organizers have already brought in important reforms aimed at tackling corruption and violence _ using overseas referees last season for major games, while authorities have vowed to overcome delays in using video assistant referee (VAR) technology.