Greece bailout review could be done by Easter: EU

Greece and its creditors could complete the first review of the country`s latest bailout by Easter, but Athens needs to do more to complete controversial pension reform and other measures, the EU said Thursday.

Reuters| Updated: Feb 12, 2016, 02:06 AM IST

Greece and its creditors could complete the first review of the country`s latest bailout by Easter, but Athens needs to do more to complete controversial pension reform and other measures, the EU said Thursday.

The leftist Greek government is hoping to conclude the review so it can move ahead with talks on renegotiating its debt, but must first save 1.8 billion euros from state spending on pensions under the 84 billion euro ($91.6 billion) deal agreed in July.

"We always knew it is still possible to conclude the review before Easter," which falls this year on March 27, EU economic affairs commissioner Pierre Moscovici told a press conference after a meeting of the Eurogroup of finance ministers from the 19-country eurozone.

Eurogroup chief and Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said that creditor representatives who visited Athens last week for talks with Greek officials found progress had been made but warned there was still work to do.

As part of the bailout terms, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras plans to reduce Greek state spending on retirement schemes, which is the highest in the 28-member European Union.

The government plans to lower the maximum pension to 2,300 euros ($2,500) a month from 2,700 euros currently and introduce a new minimum guaranteed basic pension of 384 euros.

The three-year bailout is administered by a quartet of institutions -- the European Commission, the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the EU`s bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism.

It will be up to the mission chiefs from the institutions to recommend to Eurozone finance ministers on whether Greece has satisfied the strict conditions of the bailout.