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«Κλείδωσαν» τα δημοσιονομικά μέτρα

«Θρίλερ» όλη τη νύχτα με τη διαπραγμάτευση

Πολύ κοντά στην συμφωνία για τα δημοσιονομικά μέτρα του 2016 βρίσκονται πλέον κυβέρνηση και δανειστές, καθώς κορυφαίος κυβερνητικός παράγοντας εμφανιζόταν σχεδόν βέβαιος ότι το κεφάλαιο αυτό θα έχει κλείσει ως το ξημέρωμα.

«Έχουμε σχεδόν συμφωνήσει, καταγράφουμε τα μέτρα και κάθε θεσμός κάνει άθροιση της απόδοσης που θα έχουν. Ωστόσο, στο άθροισμα της απόδοσης των μέτρων αυτών θα υπάρχει στο τέλος διαφωνία μεταξύ ΔΝΤ και Ευρωπαίων, η οποία είναι το επιχείρημα του Ταμείου ώστε να επιμείνει για ελάφρυνση του ελληνικού χρέους».

Σε ερώτηση πάντως για το πώς σχολιάζει τη δήλωση Σόιμπλε ότι δεν τίθεται θέμα ελάφρυνσης του χρέους τουλάχιστον σ’ αυτή τη φάση, ο κυβερνητικός παράγοντας απάντησε: «Τι περιμένατε να πει ο Σόιμπλε;».

Σύμφωνα με την ίδια πηγή, στο τραπέζι παραμένει η ελληνική πρόταση για αφορολόγητο μισθωτών και συνταξιούχων στα 9.100 ευρώ από τα 9.545 που ισχύει σήμερα και αντί των 8.000 ευρώ που ζητούσε το ΔΝΤ για να συμφωνήσει στην απόδοση των εσόδων από τη νέα φορολογική κλίμακα.

Ακολούθησε η συνάντηση των Θεσμών με τον υπουργό Εργασίας και Κοινωνικών Ασφαλίσεων Γιώργο Κατρούγκαλο, η οποία ολοκληρώθηκε – τουλάχιστον προς το παρόν – χωρίς αποτέλεσμα. Το χάσμα για τις επικουρικές συντάξεις παραμένει και ο κ. Κατρούγκαλος αποχώρησε για να προχωρήσουν οι συζητήσεις των ελεγκτών με τα θέματα Δημόσιας Διοίκησης και τον υπουργό κ. Βερναρδάκη. Δεν αποκλείεται ο κ. Κατρούγκαλος να επανέλθει μέσα στις επόμενες ώρες ή ακόμη και το πρωί της Δευτέρας ώστε να ξεκινήσουν εκ νέου οι διαπραγματεύσεις.

Αργοπορία στην έναρξη των συνομιλιών

H συνάντηση του οικονομικού επιτελείου -και, κυρίως, των κυρίων Τσακαλώτου και Σταθάκη- με την Τρόικα των ελεγκτών από τις 4 το απόγευμα, πήγε για τις 5, στη συνέχεια μετατέθηκε για τις 8 το βράδυ, κατόπιν -με απαίτηση των Θεσμών- πήρε παράταση μίας ώρας για τις 9 και, τελικά, ξεκίνησε στις 9.30 το βράδυ της Κυριακής. Από αυτήν η κυβέρνηση προσδοκά ότι, μέχρι τα ξημερώματα της Δευτέρας, θα έχει βγει «λευκός καπνός» και οι δύο πλευρές θα φτάσουν σε συμφωνία.

Η καθυστέρηση αυτή στο κρίσιμο ραντεβού δεν ήταν, προφανώς, γνωστή στους ανθρώπους των Θεσμών, καθώς ο Ράσμους Ρέφερ της ΕΚΤ, μαζί με το επιτελείο του, ανέβηκε στην αίθουσα συσκέψεων ήδη από τις 16:50, για το ραντεβού των 17:00, ωστόσο εκεί ενημερώθηκε για την αλλαγή στο χρονοδιάγραμμα και αποχώρησε.

Σύμφωνα με το πρόγραμμα, μετά τον κ. Κατρούγκαλο ακολουθούν: ο αναπληρωτής υπουργός Διοικητικής Μεταρρύθμισης, Χριστόφορος Βερναρδάκης (για τα μισθολογικά του Δημοσίου), ο υπουργός Οικονομίας Γιώργος Σταθάκης (για τα κόκκινα δάνεια), ακόμη και εκπρόσωπος του ΤΑΙΠΕΔ για το νέο Ταμείο Ιδιωτικοποιήσεων!

Είναι μάλιστα χαρακτηριστικό ότι συνεργάτες των υπουργών ανέφεραν το βράδυ της Κυριακής ότι το πρωί της Δευτέρας θα γίνει διάλειμμα στις συζητήσεις, χωρίς να αποκλείουν το ενδεχόμενο να συνεχιστούν και μετά από αυτό…

Προηγήθηκε σύσκεψη όλων των εμπλεκομένων στη διαπραγμάτευση, στο Μέγαρο Μαξίμου, παρουσία του πρωθυπουργού Αλέξη Τσίπρα, προκειμένου να υπάρξει κεντρικός συντονισμός για τους χειρισμούς που θα ακολουθήσουν, ώστε να κλείσει η διαπραγμάτευση.

Και αυτό, καθώς, παρά την αισιοδοξία που καλλιεργούσε η κυβέρνηση τις προηγούμενες ημέρες για προσέγγιση ή ακόμα και συμφωνία στα περισσότερα ανοιχτά ζητήματα των συνομιλιών, οι χθεσινές επαφές στο Χίλτον, τόσο για το ασφαλιστικό όσο και για τα «κόκκινα δάνεια» και τα δημοσιονομικά, κατέδειξαν ότι υπάρχει ακόμα πολύς δρόμος να διανυθεί ή θα πρέπει η μία πλευρά -ως συνήθως, η ελληνική- να κάνει πίσω σε όλα.

Από το πρωί της Κυριακής, τα τεχνικά κλιμάκια κυβέρνησης και δανειστών ετοιμάζουν κείμενα, σβήνοντας και γράφοντας νέα μέτρα, ώστε να είναι όλα έτοιμα για το νέο γύρο των διαπραγματεύσεων, που ο υπουργός Οικονομικών ευελπιστεί να καταλήξει απόψε σε μία «κατ’ αρχήν συμφωνία» και σε δύο ξεχωριστά κείμενα (από ΕΕ και ΔΝΤ), που θα δίνουν προοπτική συμφωνίας και θα τα πάρει μαζί του στην Ουάσινγκτον, όπου μεταφέρονται τα «παζάρια» από την Πέμπτη.

Αν και οι απεσταλμένοι των δανειστών φέρονται να μένουν ανυποχώρητοι στα βασικά ζητήματα, ο κ. Τσακαλώτος έλεγε, φεύγοντας από το Χίλτον, όπου διεξάγονται οι διαπραγματεύσεις (λίγο πριν τις 3 τα ξημερώματα) πως «σε όλα είχαμε πρόοδο».

Άλλες πηγές της κυβέρνησης έλεγαν πως «πρέπει να κλείσουμε και θα κλείσουμε» έως την Τετάρτη, ημέρα κατά την οποία Έλληνες και ξένοι θα διακόψουν τις συνομιλίες στην Αθήνα, για να μεταβούν στις ΗΠΑ για την εαρινή σύνοδο του ΔΝΤ.

Σε κάθε περίπτωση και όσο… δραματικό χαρακτήρα και αν προσλάβουν οι διαπραγματεύσεις, οι δανειστές κρατάνε «αιχμάλωτη» την κυβέρνηση, η οποία έχει συμφωνήσει σε «τρελά» μέτρα της τάξης των 5,4 δισ. ευρώ, παρουσιάζοντάς τα, μάλιστα, περίπου ως… επιτυχία!

Ως αντάλλαγμα, η Αθήνα αναμένεται να λάβει μια… διακοσμητική λύση για το χρέος, που δεν θα είναι, σαφώς, ένα «κούρεμα», αλλά μια ελάφρυνση με μείωση επιτοκίων και ενδεχομένως παράταση του χρόνου έναρξης αποπληρωμής των δανείων στην Τρόικα. Η όποια λύση για το χρέος, ωστόσο, δεν θα απαλλάξει την Ελλάδα από το βραχυπρόθεσμο βάρος της προσαρμογής.

Το προσχέδιο του κειμένου των Θεσμών, επί του οποίου διεξάγεται η τελική διαπραγμάτευση (Μνημόνιο)

Memorandum of Understanding
[draft] Greece

1.     Outlook and strategy

In July 2015, Greece requested support from its European partners, to restore sustainable growth, create jobs, reduce inequalities, and address the risks to its own financial stability and to that of the euro area. In August 2015, the Hellenic Republic concluded an agreement for stability support in the form of a loan from the European Stability Mechanism for an availability period of three years. In accordance with Article 13(3) of the ESM Treaty, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed which details the conditionality attached to the financial assistance facility covering the period 2015-18. The conditionality is updated on a quarterly basis, taking into account the progress in reforms achieved over the previous quarter. In each review the specific policy measures and other instruments to achieve these broad objectives outlined here will be fully specified in detail and timeline. This update reflects the agreement among the ESM, the European Commission acting on its behalf, and the authorities upon conclusion of the first review of the ESM programme.

Success requires ownership of the reform agenda programme by the Greek authorities. The Government therefore stands ready to take any measures that may become appropriate for this purpose as circumstances change.

The Government commits to consult and agree with the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund on all actions relevant for the achievement of the objectives of the Memorandum of Understanding before these are finalized and legally adopted.

The recovery strategy takes into account the need for social justice and fairness, both across and within generations. Fiscal constraints have imposed hard choices, and it is therefore important that the burden of adjustment is borne by all parts of society and taking into account the ability to pay. Priority has been placed on actions to tackle tax evasion, fraud and strategic defaulters, as these impose a burden on the honest citizens and companies who pay their taxes and loans on time. Product market reforms seek to eliminate the rents accruing to vested interest groups: through higher prices, these undermine the disposable income of consumers and harm the competitiveness of companies. Pension reforms have focussed on measures to remove exemptions and end early-retirement, increase incentives to work and declare and to and ensure the long term sustainability of the pension system. To get people back to work and prevent the entrenching of long-term unemployment, the authorities have accelerated the absorption of ESIF funds and are working to ensure an effective impact on the economy, both in the short and the long run.   A fairer society requires that Greece continues to improve the design of its welfare system, so that there is a genuine social safety net which targets scarce resources at those who need it most. The authorities are benefitting from available technical assistance from international organisations on measures to integrate its fragmented pension system, to provide access to health care for all (including the uninsured) and to roll out a basic social safety net in the form of a Guaranteed Minimum Income (GMI). Particular attention is being paid to ensure a social safety net for housing through schemes that provide targeted support for households at risk of losing their primary residence.

Implementation of the reform agenda will provide the basis for a sustainable recovery, and the policies are built around four pillars:

·         Restoring fiscal sustainability (section 2): Greece will target a medium-term primary surplus of [XXX] percent of GDP to be achieved through a combination of upfront parametric fiscal reforms, including to its VAT, income tax and pension systems, supported by an ambitious programme to strengthen tax compliance and public financial management, and fight tax evasion, while ensuring adequate protection of vulnerable groups. To enhance the credibility of its fiscal policies, and support the achievement of targets, an ambitious package of parametric measures is adopted in combination with non-parametric measures. The authorities will create an autonomous revenue administration to secure effective collection.

·         Safeguarding financial stability (section 3): A recapitalisation process of banks was completed before the end of 2015, and needs to be followed with the implementation of concomitant measures to strengthen the governance of the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF) and of banks. Greece will immediately take further steps to tackle Non-Performing Loans (NPLs).

·         Growth, competitiveness and investment (section 4): Greece will design and implement a wide range of reforms in labour markets and product markets (including energy) that not only ensure full compliance with EU requirements, but which also aim at achieving European best practices. There will be an ambitious privatisation programme, and a new independent Privatisation and Investment Fund shall be established supporting a more efficient use of resources benefitting from a strategic involvement of the private sector. Policies which support investment shall be framed within a comprehensive Growth Strategy.

·         A modern State and public administration (section 5) shall be a key priority of the programme. Particular attention will be paid to increasing the efficiency of the public sector in the delivery of essential public goods and services. Measures will be taken to enhance the efficiency of the judicial system and to upgrade the fight against corruption. Reforms will strengthen the institutional and operational independence and effectiveness of key Institutions and agencies such as the statistics institute (ELSTAT), the Hellenic Competition and other regulatory agencies.

Success will require the sustained implementation of agreed policies over many years – which necessitates political commitment, but also technical capacity of the Greek administration to deliver – and to this end the authorities have committed to make full use of the available technical assistance. Technical assistance on the European side is coordinated by the Structural Reform Support Service (SRSS) of the European Commission. Technical assistance is already in place for some key reform commitments, including on tax policy and Public Financial Management (PFM), the reform of the custom and tax administrations, review of regulatory barriers to competition, licensing simplification and doing business reforms, the social welfare review, fight against corruption, support to the implementation of the Greek energy policy objectives, support to the Greek health reform programme and the modernisation of the judicial system. In October 2015, the Greek authorities and the European Commission finalised a medium-term technical assistance plan in line with the Memorandum signed in August 2015. In December 2015, the Greek authorities informed the Commission that they would allocate an amount of EUR 30 million to technical assistance projects in the areas of PFM and privatization; economic development and procurement; justice and anti-corruption; public administration reform at both central and local level; labour, employment and social protection (including health and education). Transport sector and sectorial areas such as tourism, energy, waste and water are also addressed. These projects are aligned with previous TA requests (that they deepen and / or complement) and with the Memorandum, including this update, the scope being to provide TA in the areas identified in it.

Greece needs to build upon the agreed recovery strategy and develop a genuine growth strategy which is Greek-owned and Greek-led and fully uses available resources, including those provided by the EU. This should take into account the reforms included in this MoU, relevant European Union initiatives, the Partnership Agreement of the implementation of the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) and other best practices. Greece must benefit fully from the substantial means available from the EU budget and the European Investment Bank (EIB) to support investment and reform efforts. For the period 2007-2013, Greece was eligible for EUR 38 billion in grants from EU policies, and should ensure that all projects funded under that financing envelope are completed as planned and no later than [XX 2017]. For the 2014-2020 period, more than EUR 35 billion is available to Greece through EU funds and Greece should continue in its effort to maximise and speed up absorption of this envelope. The European Commission’s Investment Plan for Europe will provide an additional source of investment as well as technical help for public and private investors to identify, promote and develop high-quality and feasible projects to fund, and the Greek authorities and operators should make full use of this opportunity.

The Greek authorities will develop the growth strategy by June 2016, which inter alia should aim at creating a more attractive business environment, improving the education system as well as human capital formation through vocational education and training, developing R&D and innovation. It should also help design sectorial priorities in areas such as tourism, transport, pharmaceuticals and logistics, and agriculture. Progress in developing the growth strategy has been slow and the earlier goal of having this in place by March 2016 has not been met. The authorities commit to accelerate and complete the strategy and to work in collaboration with social partners, academics and international organisations, which will also provide a proper framework for legislation to spur investment. The strategy should also address the need for coordination of the ambitious reform agenda, reinforcing the role of the existing Secretariat General for Coordination and involving, as appropriate, organisations representing the private sector.

2.2 Tax policy reforms

A major reform of the income tax system and a package of revenue measures are included as prior actions in the fiscal package. These measures will help widen the tax base, improve tax efficiency and collectability, and boost labour supply.

In addition, the government commits to:

i.        Tax reforms: the authorities will by [XXX], (a) review all business income tax incentives and integrate the tax exemptions, including the new investment law into the ITC, eliminating those deemed inefficient or inequitable; b) review and phase out preferential tax treatments for the shipping industry in line with the indications of the European Commission; c) extend the temporary voluntary contribution of the shipping community to [XXX]; d) issue all remaining secondary legislation necessary for the implementation of ITC and TPC.

ii.        Tax codes. The authorities will by [XXX] for implementation in January 2017 (key deliverable), a) codify and simplify the VAT legislation, aligning it with the tax procedure code, eliminating outstanding loopholes and shortening the VAT payment period; b) simplify the income tax regime and ensure consistency of the income base for income tax and social security contributions of small businesses below the VAT registration threshold; c) modernise the corporate tax law in ITC covering mergers and acquisitions and corporate reserve accounts and implement ITC provisions concerning cross-border transactions and transfer pricing; d) develop the tax framework for collective investment vehicles and their participants in line with best practices in the EU; e) review the withholding tax on technical services; f) conduct a comprehensive review of remaining tax legislation that is in conflict with the ITC and TPC, integrating these acts where appropriate; g) revise TPC provisions to provide for incentives for cooperation at the stage of the audit by means of reduced fines; h) review the potential for a short-term extension of the tax certificate as a quality standard with no explicit advantage for businesses and without compromising the primary audit authority of the revenue administration; i) undertake a review and reform of the KEDE, including revenue administration procedures for enforced sale of assets at public auctions

iii.        Property tax. The authorities will by [XXX] provide detailed proposals that will ensure the alignment of property tax assessment values with market prices by [XXX] (key deliverable). By [XXX], cross-checking of all ownership interests will have taken place against the available information on all individual properties in the cadastre.

2.3. Revenue administration reforms

The ability to collect revenues has been hampered by a long history of complicated legislation, poor administration, political interference and generous amnesties, with chronically weak enforcement. To break from this practice and improve the tax and social security payment culture, the Government firmly commits to take strong actions to improve collection, including by taking immediate enforcement action regarding debtors who fail to pay their instalments or current obligations on time and to not introduce new instalment or other amnesty or settlement schemes nor extend existing schemes. These efforts, particularly those aimed at addressing shortfalls in tax collection and enforcement and to create better tax compliance, will be targeted to yield around [XXX] percent of GDP by 2018.

As prior actions, the authorities will pass legislation to establish an autonomous revenue agency that specifies: a) the agency’s legal form, organization, status, and scope; b) the powers and functions of the CEO and the independent Board of Governors; c) the relationship to the Minister of Finance and other governmental entities; d) the agency’s human resource flexibility and relationship to the civil service; e) budget autonomy, with own GDFS and a new funding formula to align incentives with revenue collection and guarantee budget adequacy, predictability and flexibility and a budget procedure ensuring discussions with the General accounting office of the Ministry of finance allowing for the needs of the agency to be taken into consideration; f) reporting to the Government and Parliament.

Furthermore, the authorities, making use of technical assistance, will:

i.        Make the autonomous revenue administration fully operational by 1st of January 2017. The authorities will by [XXX] put in place an implementation committee, chaired by the SGPR, which will provide an implementation plan for the agency by end June. The authorities shall by [XXX] (key deliverable): (a) appoint the Board of Governors, which from the moment of appointment will supervise the process of establishment the agency and the work of the implementation committee. It will also assume responsibility for guiding the revenue administration in the transition period according to the principles of the new agency; (b) adopt, in agreement with the Institutions and in conformity with the agency legislation, measures (i.e. MDs, budget appropriations) to provide for: a one-off injection of resources to address problems facing the agency with the initial stock in terms of both personnel and equipment and to ensure a sufficient level of resources to start to operate effectively; an immediate increase in budget for discretionary operational activities; the adequate appropriation to allow for the recruitments of sufficient staff in the agency in 2016 and 2017 to reduce the vacant positions to a normal level. The authorities will by [XXX] adopt [priority] secondary legislation of the law (key human resources, budget including procedures) so that the agency is fully operational by 1st of January 2017 with the board of governors to exercise in full all its powers by that time  (key deliverable)

ii.        Increase the use of electronic payments. The Government will pursue the implementation of the action plan for the promotion and facilitation of the use of electronic payments (through both transfers and cards) and the reduction in the use of cash, with implementation according to its schedule, including adoption of legislation by [XXX];

iii.        Enhance compliance. The authorities will by [XXX] adopt a fully-fledged plan to increase tax compliance. In particular VAT collection and enforcement will be strengthened inter alia through streamlined procedures and with measures to combat VAT carousel fraud. The authorities will (a) adopt by [XXX] legislation to accelerate de-registration procedures and limit VAT re-registration to protect VAT revenue; (b) procure in order to allow use by [XXX] the risk assessment software allowing substantially increased detection of carousel fraud; (c) prepare by [XXX]an assessment of the implication of an increase in the VAT threshold to [XXX]EUR.

iv.        Fight tax evasion. The authorities will by [XXX] produce a comprehensive plan for combating tax evasion based on an effective interagency cooperation which includes: a) identification of undeclared deposits by checking bank transactions in banking institutions in Greece and abroad; b) introduction of a voluntary disclosure program with appropriate sanctions, incentives and verification procedures, consistent with international best practice, and without any amnesty provisions; c) requesting from EU Member States to provide data on asset ownership and acquisition by Greek citizens, and how the data will be exploited; d) pursuing work with technical assistance in tax administration and making full use of the resources in capacity building; e) establishing a wealth registry to improve monitoring; f) concrete steps to ensure the collection of tax on incomes generated on off-shore portfolios of individuals.

v.        Focus tax audits on priority cases. The authorities will implement effectively the policy of auditing priority tax cases and this will be monitored through a specific key performance indicator.

vi.        Improve collection of tax debt. To improve collection of tax debt the authorities will by [XXX] publish on an update of the list of large tax debtors (key deliverable), and update the list on a regular basis, and implement in 2016, a national collection strategy including further automation of debt collection, [and by XXX take necessary measures towards the timely collection of fines on vehicles uninsured or not undertaking mandatory technical controls, and of levies for the unlicensed use of frequencies]. The authorities will procure the software allowing for further automation of the debt collection, embracing inter alia fully automatized garnishment procedure to be delivered by [XXX]. The authorities will amend legislation establishing clear criteria of non-collectability to write-off tax claims by [XXX].

vii.        Deal with large debtors. The authorities will launch a process ensuring triage of the large debtors on the basis of the analysis of economic and financial data to determine their viability. To this effect they will by [XXX], issue guidance in accordance with best practice defining the method to differentiate tax debtors based on their economic situation and capacity to pay, consistent with the relevant insolvency and debt restructuring regimes, and launch the procurement of a company with relevant experience to assist Large Debtor Unit (LDU) of the tax administration and Single Collection Centre for Social Security Contribution Debt (KEAO) in the triage and they will, if necessary, take all legislation needed to ensure the company will be bound by confidentiality rules and have access to relevant information from tax administration and KEAO. By [XXX], the LDU will finalize a report classifying large debtors according to their economic and financial situation on the basis of the guidelines noted above and proposing corresponding debt collection targets and solutions (such as: liquidation or other enforcement measures, debt restructuring). By [XXX], KPIs will be developed to measure the efforts made in implementing the various tools used for enforced collection.

viii.        Reduce unnecessary litigations. The authorities will reinforce the dispute resolution unit by appointing by [XXX]  its director and deputy and provide by [XXX] a case management system.

ix.        Rethink the model of cooperation between Justice and tax administration in the fight against high level tax fraud. The authorities will propose an organization of work and procedures to allow the prosecutors requests to be treated in an efficient way without disrupting the work on risk assessed audits [XXX]. This will include publishing a circular by the Prosecutor of the Supreme Court to the other prosecutors highlighting the need to focus on priority cases. In order to allow the scarce resources to focus on the important cases, the rules about complaints will be reviewed to ensure that only relevant and substantiated complaints need to be fully investigated.

x.        Reinforce fight against smuggling The authorities will reinforce their fight against smuggling by a full and timely implementation of the joint ministerial decision taken to combat fuel smuggling and its measures for locating storage tanks (fixed or mobile) and for installing the inflow-outflow system; the authorities will adopt an anti-smuggling strategy for fuel and tobacco by [XXX]; and will equip with scanners the three main international ports by [XXX] (key deliverable).

xi.        Enhance custom services efficiency. The Government will streamline pre-customs procedures by [XXX]. In addition, with the participation of public and private stakeholders, the authorities will update the trade facilitation action plan for the national single window by [XXX] and proceed subsequently with its implementation. The Government will make institutional changes for post-clearance audits and restructure the risk analysis department in line with WCO recommendations by [XXX]  and complete the customs reorganisation by [XXX] (key deliverable).

xii.        Improve collection and write off of social security debt. By [XXX] the authorities will provide KEAO with access to indirect bank account registry and to tax administration data, and will publish regularly the list of large debtors for social security debt. By [XXX] the authorities will (i) issue legislation to quarantine uncollectable Social security contribution debt; and (ii) improve the rules on write-off of uncollectible Social security contribution debt.

xiii.        Integrate all social security collection functions and transfer to the tax administration. To integrate social security contribution filing, payment and collection into the tax administration by the end of 2017 the authorities will, in order to enhance debt collection, increase as a first step the staffing of KEAO to [XXX] people by [XXX], notably to strengthen its control capacity, and, as a second step, the capacity of KEAO will be increased to [  ] by […]. By [XXX] the authorities will create a single SSC debt database managed by KEAO that will encompass information currently processed by all social security funds. The authorities, with a view to integrate the collection of social security contributions, will create a single contributor register in coordination with progress with the pension funds consolidation by [XXX] and adopt a legal framework for joint collection of SSC and PIT by [XXX].

The authorities will continue to improve operations as measured by key performance indicators. Over the medium term authorities will continue the reforms improving tax administration, to be agreed with the Institutions, and taking into account recommendations of technical assistance reports conducted by the EC/IMF.

3.   Safeguarding financial stability

All necessary policy actions will be taken to safeguard financial stability and strengthen the viability of the banking system. No unilateral fiscal or other policy actions will be taken by the authorities, which would undermine the liquidity, solvency or future viability of the banks.All measures, legislative or otherwise, taken during the programme period that may have an impact on banks’ operations (i.e., solvency, liquidity, asset quality etc.) should be taken in close consultation with the EC/ECB/IMF and where relevant the ESM.

The authorities will accelerate actions included in the comprehensive strategy for the financial system related to reinforcing the banking sector by (i) normalising liquidity and payment conditions and strengthening capital (ii) addressing NPLs and (iii) enhancing governance.

Restoring liquidity and capital in the banking system

The authorities are committed to preserving sufficient liquidity in the banking system in compliance with Eurosystem rules and to achieving a sustainable bank funding model for the medium term. In this context, banks are required to submit quarterly funding plans to the Bank of Greece (BoG) so as to ensure continuous monitoring and assessment of their liquidity needs.

The impact of the capital controls will be monitored with full information sharing with the EC, ECB, ESM and IMF. The authorities will manage, in timely consultation with the EC, ECB, ESM and IMF, the process for the easing of capital controls, taking liquidity conditions of the banking system into account while aiming to minimise the macroeconomic impact of the controls.

The BoG will require completion of the recapitalisation process for the less systemic banks on the basis of existing capital assessments.

Resolution of Non-Performing Loans (NPLs)

As a prior action,

the authorities will:

·         adopt amendments to Law 4354/2015 (Law on the Management of Non-Performing Loans, pay-setting arrangements and other emergency provisions in application of the agreement on budgetary targets and structural reforms) in order to allow the sale of loans with the exception of household loans secured by primary residences belonging to vulnerable groups [and the specific types of loans: XXX], for which the liberalization will enter into effect at [XXX]; and among others remove restrictions related to the free movement of capital, align taxation with international best practice, remedy inconsistencies related to the securitisation law 3156/2003, and implement all other issues agreed with the Institutions.

·         adjust related secondary legislation to the amended Law 4354/2015 and set up the related consultative committee by the Government to fully operationalise the licensing framework of credit servicing firms.

By [XXX],

a.     the Authorities will establish the general principles and devise a roadmap for amending the out-of-court workout law 4307/2014 (OCW) and setting up a coordination mechanism for restructuring public and private debt;

b.    the BoG in cooperation with the SSM will extend the comprehensive monitoring framework with additional key performance indicators (KPIs) in relation to banks’ NPE (Non-Performing Exposure) resolution activities. By [XXX], the BoG, in cooperation with the SSM, will agree with the banks on concrete targets of key financial and operational indicators with the objectives to significantly reduce such exposures and as much as possible reach sustainable restructuring solutions for borrowers. The BoG, in cooperation with the SSM, will ensure that the NPE targets remain ambitious and banks’ NPE strategies are adequately designed and executed to reach the targets.The banks will be required to report regularly on these KPIs and their progress in achieving targets for NPE workouts. From October 2016, the BoG will publish quarterly an aggregated summary report on the developments of selected KPIs and targets. The BoG will assign a team for, among others, regular assessment and analyses of banks’ performance in achieving targets and its drivers, identification of impediments in case of missing the targets and resons of underperformancewith a view of providing recommendations to the competent authorities and relevant governmental bodies.

By [XXX, as a prior action],

the authorities will
will amend the income tax law to ensure that debt write-offs as result of restructuring agreements are not considered as taxable income of the borrower.

By [XXX],
the HFSF will

present an NPL resolution action plan to enhance coordination among banks and accelerate the restructuring of viable, distressed, large corporates, and if needed, jointly tackle entire economic sectors. The HFSF will work actively with the banks so that the recommendations of the report are adopted and used by the banks. The Authorities will utilise the findings of this workstream in their work on amending the OCW law and establishing the coordination mechanism of private and public creditors.

By [XXX],

i.       the authorities will

a.     amend the out-of-court workout law (OCW) to allow standardized processing of certain categories of borrowers, extend the framework to large borrowers to allow the restructuring of their public and private debt with tailor-made solutions, and provide tax incentives for banks and borrowers to work out debts and develop a coordination mechanisms between private and public creditors to deal with debtors with especially large public and private debts (key deliverable);

b.    introduce safe harbor provisions in the laws dealing with debt restructuring (such as the OCW, corporate, and personal insolvency laws) stating that actions taken in good faith by both private and public creditors, and following the procedures established in the law, will not give rise to civil or criminal liability;

c.     present a report and detailed proposals of amendments in view to improve the corporate insolvency law, among others, by simplifying and accelerating the procedures, reduce the discharge period and specify the insolvency administrators’ functions;

d.    appoint new specially trained judges and support staff and set up dedicated chambers for the trial of household insolvency cases to reduce the backlog of pending applications under law 3869/2010.

e.      adopt a legislation on the a Debt Information and Support Network located across the country, in order to provide adequate advice to physical persons and SMEs on the legal and financial aspects of debt restructurings. A detailed implementation plan will also be developed by [XXX].

ii.        the HFSF will

a.     make concrete proposals, in cooperation with the BoG, how to eliminate all remaining non-regulatory impediments to the development of a dynamic NPL market based on the study delivered in October 2015, which will be published by the HFSF. The Authorities will remove the remaining impediments by end-2016.

iii.        the Bank of Greece will

a.     revise the Code of Conduct for debt restructuring guidelines to deal with groups of borrowers (e.g.: SMEs).

By [XXX],

the authorities will
a.     establish by law publicly accessible information repositories in line with best international practice, including a new real-estate transaction register and a central database to consolidate information on arrears on public liabilities that is accessible to parties with legitimate interest including credit registers to develop credit scores.

b.    establish specialized chambers for corporate insolvency matters in the districts of Athens, Thessaloniki and Piraeus.

By [XXX],

the authorities will adopt amendments to the corporate insolvency law (key deliverable) in line with the agreed proposals to be submitted by June and enact all necessary secondary legislations (Presidential Decree, Ministerial Decisions and decisions of the relevant supervisory administrative body) to effectively operationalise the profession of insolvency administrator according to a timeframe agreed with the Institutions by [XXX].

By [XXX],

the authorities will assess the effectiveness of the legal and institutional framework for the Household insolvency (law 3869/2010).

Governance of the HFSF

The independence of the HFSF will be fully respected and its governance structure reinforced with a view to preventing any political interference in its management or activities.

In case the Selection Panel (Panel) proposes replacements to the Executive Board and/or General Council, the Minister of Finance will issue decisions in line with the HFSF law. The Panel will carry out a review of the remuneration levels of the governance bodies of the HFSF and propose changes if appropriate, in which case the Minister of Finance will issue the corresponding decision in line with the HFSF law. Should new members be selected by the Panel, they will receive adequate remuneration as proposed by the Panel.

Governance of banks

The Government will not intervene in the management, decision-making and commercial operations of banks, which will continue to operate strictly in accordance with market principles. Any potential replacement of board members and senior management of the banks will be carried out without any interference by the Government. These appointments will be made in line with best international practices, taking into account the specific rules of the HFSF law as regards the rights of private shareholders who participated in the banks’ capital increases under the existing framework.

By [XXX] (key deliverable), the HFSF with the help of an independent international consultant will finalise the review of the boards of the banks in which the RFAs apply. This review will be in line with prudent international practices by applying criteria that go beyond supervisory fit and proper requirements. By [XXX], bank board members should be replaced in a manner that reflects the findings of the above review and respect the HFSF law. The HFSF will make sure that the recruitment of any new board members and any senior executives will be fair and transparent, and that these new members and senior executives are not representatives of past shareholders or linked to borrowers of the bank with an exposure of [xxx EUR million] or any exposures in arrears. The HFSF will ensure that the new members shortlisted and nominated by the Nomination Committees of the banks respect the criteria specified in the HFSF law and further established by the review. By the same date, organisational and governance changes recommended by the review will also be implemented in the banks.

By [XXX], the BoG will assess if banks boards’ and management have been aligned with the recommendations of the review and, if needed, the Authorities will take further action, including amendments to the regulatory bank governance framework.

The HFSF will ensure through the amended Relationship Framework Agreements (RFAs) that the external auditors’ contracts with the banks can be for a maximum duration of five consecutive years, and the first rotation of the current auditors will take place in all banks as soon as possible operationally but not later than for the financial year of 2018.

Το ΔΝΤ, από την πλευρά του, φέρεται να συγκεκριμενοποιεί ως στόχο την επίτευξη πρωτογενούς πλεονάσματος 1,5%.

Διονύσιος Βούτος
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30 χρόνια στην δημοσιογραφία. Δημοσιογράφος ΕΡΤ
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