The institutions are currently examining the conditions the IMF will accept to finance the Greek programme ahead of the Eurogroup meeting that will start at 16:00 (Athens time) in Brussels.
The full participation of the Fund in the Greek programme is a sine qua non for the continuation and conclusion of the second programme review.
According to a eurozone official, there is a good chance that the institutions find “common ground” in order to return to Athens for the resumption of the programme review.
The same official estimated that the Greek side will be in a position to agree on the issues that will be raised.
The major issue to be examined is IMF’s demand to legislate in advance measures after 2018 (measures that will be applied in case the 3.5 percent of GDP primary surplus target is not met). The European Commission does not agree with that demand and it will try to reach a compromise. Another matter that needs to be solved is the period that Greece needs to meet the 3.5 primary surplus target after 2018.
If there is agreement on all the above mentioned issues as well as in labour, energy and fiscal matters, then the conclusion of the second programme review can be achieved by the Eurogroup on February 20 with the full participation of the IMF. The same officials reiterated that February is the last month that a solution can be found before the “long election period” starts in Europe.