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Online Auctions Overshadow Greek Bailout Progress

Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos at Monday’s Eurogroup © European Union/Sooc-Alexandros Michailidis

Monday’s crunch Eurogroup meeting may have praised Athens for legislating 95 of 110 “prerequisites” needed to access bailout funds but stressed the need for online auctions before a next loan tranche is disbursed in February.
Greece’s government has committed to 10,000 real estate auctions in 2018 and 40,000 auctions per year over the next three years, from 2019 to 2021. The emotive issue of home auctions, and especially primary residencies, has been a thorny issue for the government of Alexis Tsipras.
The European compliance report states that court auctions are problematic in contrast to the online auctions which allow notaries to carry out procedures without reactions from activist groups.
It further says the Greek authorities need to establish a protection framework to ensure that auctions proceed unhindered. This is because it is critical for Greek banks to reduce the number of non-performing loans in order to comply with the Single Supervisory Mechanism requirements.
“Stand on our own two feet”
“This was a very good Eurogroup for Greece,” Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos told reporters after the meeting of eurozone finance ministers.
“As you have already heard, the agreement on the third review is complete. There are a few prior actions that have to be finished before the disbursement.
“Even more significant for the Greek case is that people are now convinced that things have turned around and people are beginning to talk about the future and Greece’s exit from the program.”
Tsakalotos further said the Greek government is looking to the future with a greater degree of confidence now that the third review of the bailout program is over. He also specified that the fourth review will not have that many prior actions.
The Greek finance minister also said that from now on discussions will be about the debt and the nature of the exit from the bailout program. He added that it is encouraging that out of the €6.7 billion ($8.2 billion) , €1.8 or €1.9 billion will go towards building a buffer “so that we can stand on our own two feet after August 2018 and the end of the program”.

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