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Strauss-Kahn and Olli Rehn stood behind the Troika

13 February 2011 / 13:02:20  GRReporter
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Despite the threats, the Greek government did not hand protest notes to the European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund after the press conference of their representatives Servaas Deroose, Claus Mazuch and Poul Thomsen. On Friday, the three experts announced, before journalists, the ambitious privatization program worth €50 billion, which must be completed by 2015. The privatization program as well as some comments of the experts, were qualified by the government spokesman George Petalotis as unacceptable interference in the internal affairs of Greece. Citing government sources, the Greek media said that on Saturday PM George Papandreou will present the protest notes to the three institutions. 

Protest notes were not sent, but the Greek PM spoke on the phone with the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, at the request of the latter, as highlighted by local media. During the conversation it became clear that Dominique Strauss-Kahn understood Papandreou’s concerns, but remains supporting the position of his representative in Athens. In the same spirit was also Papandreou’s conversation with the European Commissioner for Monetary Affairs, Olli Rehn. There is no information regarding a telephone conversation with the President of the European Central Bank Jean-Claude Trichet. 

The laconic information indicates that the three experts - Servaas Deroose, Claus Mazuch and Poul Thomsen - have acted completely according to the planned procedure and within the mandate given to them. The content of their statements, from the notorious press conference, was also well known to the Greek government and their superiors in Washington, Brussels and Frankfurt and they had a green light to announce what they did. Through the European Commission office in Athens, late Saturday afternoon, the three gentlemen distributed the following statement to the Greek media: 

"At the conclusion of our joint mission yesterday, we noted that Greece’s economic program remains on track. We also indicated our continuing strong support for the Government in meeting its objectives of fiscal consolidation and restoring growth and competitiveness, as reflected in the Memorandum on the program. Our collaboration in this effort has always been, and continues to be, based on mutual trust. Our three institutions have full respect for the prerogatives and initiatives of the Government in all areas of economic decision-making, and our role is to advise and support the Government while considering options during the decision-making process. It is regrettable if a different impression was perceived at any time. We recognize the difficult challenges facing the Greek economy and we have the deepest respect for the tremendous efforts being made by the Greek people. We continue to support those efforts.” 

This statement put an end to the enraged storm. If Greece wants to return to the international markets in early 2012, as estimated by Poul Thomsen, it must be very careful what messages it sends. It is interesting to note that, after announcing the privatization plan, the shares of the two Greek state banks – Agricultural bank and Postbank - jumped on the Athens Exchange. On Tuesday, February 15, once again Greece issued notes with a short maturity and it is very interesting with what interest it will be able to sell them. In any event, the privatization program of €50 billion will attract investor interest. After the initial skepticism, according to which even if Greece sold the Acropolis it would not collect €50 billion, comes the realistic judgment, which shows that the amount is very real. 

Ethnos newspaper published a chart of assets subject to privatization of the Greek government, which can be seen under number 5 in our gallery. There it can be seen that the state owns 77.31 percent of Agricultural Bank, estimated over €595 million. The government share in Postbank is 34.04 percent and is estimated to over €331 million. The Greek State holds 1.23 percent of the National Bank of Greece as well, with share amounting to nearly €87 million. All three banks are listed on the Athens Exchange. 

The second group of privatization objectives includes state enterprises, which are also listed on the Athens Exchange. These are the National Electric Company in which the state owns 51.12 percent - an amount equal to over 1 billion and 470 million Euros. Juicy piece is also the organization Greek Oil in which the state has 35.48 percent share or nearly 805 million Euros. In water supply and sanitation the government has a share of 61.33 percent or over 148 million Euros. Particularly attractive for privatization is also the state lottery in which the government holds 34 percent or over 1 billion and 685 million Euros. The state also continues to control 16 percent of the national telecom operator OTE - a share which is valued around 593 million Euros. 

Tags: PoliticsNewsEconomyMarketsIMFGreece
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