IN exchange for a promised $96 billion bailout, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has committed his deeply indebted country to a slate of tough new austerity measures and reforms that have proven elusive for years.
The promises extracted from the Greek delegation by leaders of the 18 other countries that share the euro currency appear even harsher than those rejected by Greek voters in a July 5 referendum. But with banks closed and on the verge of collapse and commerce at a standstill, the Athens government appeared to have little choice but to accede to its creditors’ demands.
Here are the steps the Greek government must take, and the divided Parliament must approve, before fellow eurozone members will formally negotiate a third bailout of Greece since 2010, as outlined in a statement from European Union headquarters in Brussels:
—Streamline the value-added tax system and extend it to service industries previously exempt to increase revenue.
—Conduct a comprehensive reform of the pension system to make it self-financing.
—Safeguard the full legal independence of ELSTAT, the Greek statistics office accused of misreporting finances in the past.
By July 22:
—Overhaul procedures and arrangements for the civil justice system that should significantly accelerate the judicial process and reduce costs.
—Implement the European Union’s Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive, with the assistance of the European Commission, to secure new liquidity infusions.
Additionally, with a “satisfactory clear timetable”:
—Carry out ambitious pension reforms by October so that no deficit financing is necessary, or come up with unspecified alternatives.
—Relax state controls on Sunday trade, pharmacy ownership, milk, bakeries, ferry transportation and other closed professions.
—Privatize the electricity monopoly.
—Undertake rigorous review of the labor market to align it with European best practices, and to modernize collective bargaining, management and termination.
—Strengthen the financial sector, including decisive action on non-performing loans and elimination of political interference.
—Scale up privatization by transferring at least $55 billion in valuable state assets to an independent fund, using half the proceeds to recapitalize state banks and the rest to pay down debt and invest in growth.
—Produce by July 20 a plan to modernize, depoliticize and reduce the cost of the Greek administration system.
—Allow creditor institutions to work in Athens to monitor and assess progress in implementing the necessary reforms.