athens, greece, temple.jpg
Photograph: Pixabay.com / PublicDomainPictures

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.

Latest news

Plane crashes at airport in Melbourne

A five-passenger charter plane has crashed into a building next to Essendon Airport in Melbourne, with witnesses reporting explosions, fire and black smoke, police said Tuesday.

Air France pilots give green light to lower cost subsidiary

Members of Air France's main pilots union on Monday voted to accept the creation of a new lower cost subsidiary that the flag carrier hopes will help it compete on long-haul routes.

US Army General McMaster tapped as Trump's national security advisor

Army Lieutenant General HR McMaster will be the new White House national security advisor, US President Donald Trump told reporters Monday.

Greece's creditors want sweeping reforms before next bailout payment

Greece must make sweeping reforms to its labour market, pension system and collective bargaining agreements in order to receive its next vital bailout payment, the country's European creditors said Monday.

President wants to recall "politically appointed ambassadors", can't do it without gov't

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said that many politically appointed Croatian ambassadors were not carrying out state policies but that she could not replace them without the government to appoint career diplomats who would fight for Croatia's interests.

Izetbegovic hopes ICJ will confirm Serbia's responsibility for genocide

The Bosniak member of the tripartite presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bakir Izetbegovic, on Monday rejected criticism stirred up by the announcement that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) would be requested to review its judgement made after Bosnia sued Serbia for genocide.

British lawmakers locked in heated debate over Trump's state visit

Allowing US President Donald Trump to visit Britain would be akin to "pimping out the Queen," one British lawmaker said Monday during a heated debate in British parliament over two petitions concerning the US leader's future state visit.

Vitaly Churkin, Russia's sharp-tongued ambassador to the UN, dies

Russia's long-time ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, died in New York on Monday, following a career that spanned four decades and saw Russia emerge from the Soviet Union and experience many turbulent events in its relations with the West.

French police raid National Front over European Parliament payments

France's far-right National Front Monday said that investigators had searched its offices in relation to allegations that it misused European Parliament funds.

Unhappy Presidents' Day: Trump still manoeuvring after Sweden comment

Donald Trump used his first Presidents' Day in office to continue trying to talk his way out of comments implying a terrorist attack in Sweden that never happened.

Croatia supports Kosovo's territorial integrity - Grabar-Kitarovic

Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic on Monday expressed the support to Kosovo's territorial integrity and Euro-Atlantic aspirations during her talks with the visiting Kosovo Foreign Minister Enver Hoxhaj.

Petrov rules out early parliamentary election

Parliament Speaker and Bridge party leader Bozo Petrov on Monday dismissed speculation about a reshuffle of the parliamentary majority, saying an early election was likelier, but that right now he did not see "such a scenario."