A team of EU/IMF/ECB inspectors is likely to recommend releasing a vital international aid tranche to Greece but Athens should not take this for granted but first show it will implement reforms, a senior troika official told Reuters on Wednesday.
"We are making progress but slow progress. The main reason is they (the government) need more time," the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. "So far we have not closed any of the chapters."
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Asked if there was any chance that the sixth, 8-billion euro tranche of aid would not be released to Greece, the official said: "There's always a risk, it cannot be taken for granted. But I believe in the end we will make it."
The talks between Athens and the inspectors, who resumed their review of Greece's fiscal progress last week, are progressing well on structural reforms and on the 2012 draft budget, the official said.
"We are progressing smoothly on structural reforms. We have still not concluded on the fiscal side. There is good progress on 2012, but have not yet discussed 2013-2014," the official said.Greece is running late on an EU/IMF privatisation target because of delays in setting up the fund in charge of handling the sell-offs, the official said.
The troika has repeatedly encouraged consolidation in the Greek banking sector and the official said it hoped to see more such developments after a merger deal between Alpha Bank and Eurobank .
"We hope there will be more, both domestic and international," the official said.
The official could not say when EU, IMF and ECB inspectors would end their review and deliver their verdict on the aid tranche. Euro zone finance ministers on Monday postponed the aid payment to Greece until mid-November.