Athens Digest 19.07.2019

• After talks with creditors, government to announce policy details

• Our man in Brussels: Schinas gets nod for Commission post

• Post-election clash over financial crimes department

• Dmitris Tsakonas promoted to General Director of the Debt Management Agency

# Top officials in the new government held successive meetings with European institutions’ representatives_ IMF held its own bilateral courtesy calls with the new ministers_ who stayed on in Athens for an extra day after attending the Economist conference, to discuss details of reforms promised by the prime minister. Kyriakos Mitsotakis will address members of his parliamentary group this morning and open a three-day debate tomorrow evening in parliament for MPs to confirm his government. He is expected to announce key details of three express legislative initiatives to be voted on in the next few weeks that will set the tone of his premiership: Bills to continue administrative reform, cut taxes, and boost investment. Talks with lenders, however, are due to start in earnest September, leaving several issues surrounding tax reduction still unresolved.

# Margaritis Schinas has spent more than half his life working in Brussels, filling several senior posts in the EU Commission, most recently as its always-composed chief spokesman. Thanks to the new government in Athens, the 56-year-old Thessaloniki native has just been promoted, as Greece’s nominee to the next European Commission. A statement from the office of Prime Minister Mitsotakis said he would soon formally notify new EU Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen of his decision. Although Schinas also served as a member of the European Parliament for the conservative New Democracy party, he is known to most Greeks for his daily Brussels briefings during the financial crisis. Schinas will meet PM Mitsotakis later today.

# Dimitris Tsakonas was appointed by the Ministry of Finance as General Director of the Public Debt Management Agency. Tsakonas, a mathematician, was the deputy general director of the agency. Meanwhile, yesterday, the yield for the 10-year Greek bond dropped to 2.12 percent from 2.22 percent from the previous day’s session.

On our radar: Post-election clash over financial crimes department
Less than two weeks after the general election, a clash has broken out between Greece’s two main political parties over a planned reorganisation of state enforcement departments including the Finance Ministry’s Financial and Economic Crime Unit, SDOE. The financial crimes agency is being merged with the ministry’s general secretariat for tax policy and public assets. Apostolos Vesyropoulos, the deputy minister for tax policy, argued that the changes would boost the agency’s effectiveness through depoliticisation and allow a more merit-based choice of leadership. The opposition claimed that the reforms would effectively abolish SDOE.