Talks between the troika and the Greek government continued over the weekend, with the two sides believed to be very close to an agreement on the future of Hellenic Defense Systems (EAS), the last “prior action” needed to secure the next bailout sub-tranche of 1 billion euros.
Sources told Kathimerini that Greece and its lenders are down to discussing how many of the 818 employees who work at EAS will retain their jobs under a new, pared-down version of the public company, which would be split into two. One part would meet military needs, the other would carry out civil contracts. The government is hoping to keep 341 of the workers on.
“I think we will soon have an agreement,” Prime Minister Antonis Samaras told Sunday’s Kathimerini. “EAS will have to be limited to the useful and effective units and the absolutely necessary personnel. It will also have to retain their production capacity, competitive qualities and export orientation. We can build a modern defense industry on this basis.”
Sources told Kathimerini that Greece’s eurozone partners are showing some flexibility on the issue as they do not wish to delay the release of the 1 billion euros much longer to ensure that Athens does not have any difficulties making payments in the weeks to come, especially as a 1.85-billion-euro bond matures on January 11.