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ATHENS – With envoys from international lenders delaying their return to Athens until the government sets forth a timetable for finishing some 700 undone reforms, Greece reportedly will push debt relief and a credit line without signing a new memorandum.

The Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) is due back on Nov. 4. Kathimerini said the talks will center on a “post-memorandum” era in which Greece early next year would forego what’s left in loans from the IMF and go to the markets instead.

Prime Minister and New Democracy Conservative leader Antonis Samaras, whose coalition government is under assault and losing support fast to the anti-austerity major opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) wants to reach an agreement with the Troika by the end of January.

That would be just a couple of weeks before the country is scheduled to elect a symbolic Greek President, which requires 180 votes from the 300-member Parliament. New Democracy and its coalition partner the PASOK Socialists have only 155 votes.

Samaras wants an early exit from the Troika deal so that the IMF can’t insist on more of the reforms that have cut deeply into support for his party.

The government said it is in a position to borrow from the markets and can afford to forego 12 billion euros in what would be left of the IMF pledges into 2016, when the next national elections are set, unless snap polls happen earlier.

The Troika, particularly the IMF, said Greece isn’t ready and that any hope of an early exit would have to he accompanied by a precautionary credit line to be drawn on in case of trouble, most likely by setting aside 11.4 billiion euros destined for bank recapitalization, that would have come from the bailout monies.

There would also be a new agreement between Greece and the eurozone which would not be christened as a memorandum but would come with certain terms attached, Kathimerni said, as part of what the government hopes would be a “new relationship” with its lenders.

Meanwhile the government must make good on a series of economic reforms which it has pledged to the troika if it is to secure 7.1 billion euros in loans.

Technical staff from the Troika are due in Athens this week to check on progress while mission chiefs will only return once the government has sent them its final positions on key structural reforms, athough Samaras is eager to avoid more pension cuts that are in the package.

SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras called again for snap elections that he said would bring him to power with a promise to renegotiate the terms of the loans or walk away from them, although that would leave the country broke and unable to borrow.

Tsipras said money destined to repay the Troika would be diverted to Greek social needs instead although he didn’t say form where it would come. He’s also demanding the return of a forced loan issued by the Bank of Greece to the Nazi regime during World War II.

“They don’t want to admit that their experiment has failed and so they attack the worn-down guinea pig with ever-greater zeal,” Tsipras said of the Troika.

The post Greece Wants Debt Relief, Credit Line, But No Troika Memorandum appeared first on The National Herald.

Source: The National Herald
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