Eurogroup returns to the politics of blackmail, withholding funds needed to pay themselves -Portuguese Fin Min Mário Centeno President of the Eurogroup. Also Chair of the Board of Governors of the European Stability Mechanism.

Eurogroup refused to approve  the release of 5.7 billion euros in bailout funding for Greece on Monday after reported objections from Klaus Regling (ESM) and Mario Draghi  (ECB).

The money was supposed to be used to pay back loans to the European lenders (3.3 bn) while part of it (1.9 bn) would go towards the 19bn reserve the government wants to build for the post bailout period and only 0.5 bn would be used to pay back government debt to suppliers and tax rebated to industry.

The money now not expected  until at least mid-March, as the Eurogroup is demanding that Greece complete two remaining prior actions from 110 reforms it needed to implement in order to wrap up the program.

The pending reforms relate to the speeding up of  electronic property auctions already approved and running, to help  Greek banks  – and delays in the privatization of the old Athens airport plot at Elliniko which is currently under legal review by the Council of State  both of which are beyond the government’s control.

“Of all the 110 prior actions, only two are still outstanding which are outside the control of the government. I am confident they can be cleared soon,” new Eurogroup president Mario Centeno said.

“Teams will return to Athens to start discussions next Monday on the fourth and final review,” Commissioner Moscovici said on Twitter. “The aim of the mission will be to agree plans for the completion of all the required actions by May, so that the 21 June Eurogroup can take the necessary decisions.”

“Teams will also discuss the growth strategy for Greece for the coming years,” the EU commissioner said.