Greece passes bailout hurdle with appointments to privatization fund

Greece has passed an important hurdle to receive its next bailout tranche by securing the European Commission's approval for top appointments to a new privatization fund, a spokeswoman for the European Union's executive said Tuesday.

Athens has to implement economic reforms in exchange for billions of euros in bailout aid it is receiving to remain solvent.

At present, 2.8 billion euros (3.2 billion dollars) are in line to be disbursed by the eurozone bailout fund, once Athens delivers reforms in areas including privatization, bank governance and the energy sector.

"The commission has communicated to the Greek authorities its agreement to the proposed candidates for the supervisory board of the [privatization] fund," said spokeswoman Annika Breidthardt.

"This was one of the key milestones required for the disbursement of the next tranche of financing," she added, while noting that the next step is the appointment of a board of directors "whose members should embody the highest standards of governance and independence."

The role of the fund will be to oversee the lease and sale of Greek state enterprises, including airports and the country's electricity and gas distribution networks.

Its supervisory board is to consist of three Greek government representatives and two members appointed by Athens' creditors, who each have a veto right, the Greek daily Kathimerini reported Monday. The nomination process had long been a source of contention.

The creditors have chosen Spanish economist David Vegara and Jacques Le Pape, a former political associate of International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde, according to the newspaper.

The Greek parliament is due to vote Tuesday on new reforms relating to the pension and social security systems and a tax avoidance clampdown, as well as the privatization fund.

Officials hope these will help pave the way for the International Monetary Fund's involvement in the bailout, Greece's third since 2010.

Last update: Tue, 27/09/2016 - 15:50

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