BRUSSELS (MNI) – Eurozone finance ministers could take until
November to decide whether Greece should receive the next tranche of its
bailout loan, worth E31.5 billion, an EU official said.

The official also said that no decisions on Spain are likely to be
taken until an independent auditor’s report on the Spanish banking
sector’s capital needs is completed.

“A decision on Greece is not guaranteed by the end of October. The
Troika’s report has only been promised for ‘around’ October, and they
have a tendency to be late,” he said. How long the Troika’s report takes
will “depend on what they find,” the official added.

The Greek government had been expecting the E31.5 billion payment
to be approved at the next meeting of Eurozone finance ministers on
October 8. But as MNI reported earlier this afternoon, union
representatives who met with Greek Finance Minister Giannis Stournaras
in Athens today said he had told them the money would not be coming
until November.

Greece has warned repeatedly that it is running out of cash to pay
operating expenses and needs the loan tranche as soon as possible.
Indeed, the union officials who met with Stournaras today represented
employees from 14 municipalities who have launched a 48-hour strike
because their paychecks that were due September 1 have not been sent.

The EU official, who is familiar with the talks regarding a
possible bailout aid request from Madrid, said it was “very hard to see
how any decisions on Spain could be taken before there was a clear
picture of the banking sector’s situation.”

European finance ministers meeting in Cyprus this weekend for
informal talks are likely to get “a flavour” of the situation, he said.

The ministers are also expected to sound each other out on the plan
to create a centralized bank regulator for the Eurozone, managed by the
ECB. The European Commission today published its proposal for such a
bank supervision plan, and it recommended that all Eurozone banks, not
just the systemically important ones, be put under the control of the
ECB and its constituent national central banks.

There was “no consensus” on who should be chosen to head the new
Supervisory Board of the ECB, but governments would prefer to name a
current member of the bank’s Executive Board, the official said, adding
that “many of those members seemed keen for the job” and that even ECB
President Mario Draghi had not publicly ruled himself out for the post.

–Brussels Newsroom,; +324-952-28374

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