Government talks with creditors proving difficult

Government talks with creditors proving difficult

Athens, September 15, 2016/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Zacharias Petrou

Greece’s creditors have reportedly rejected several government proposals, as negotiations –which restarted this week – between the two sides are proving tougher than expected for the Syriza-ANEL government.

After rejecting a plan to allow business entities the right to protect one of their bank accounts from creditors and third party obligations and a proposed draft law envisioning incentives for the voluntary disclosure of un-taxed capital, the “quadriga” also turned down a proposal by the Labor Ministry to freeze debt payments for professionals and the self-employed.

Official confirmation has not been made by the Greek government. In fact ministers insisted on Wednesday that talks were on course to be concluded successfully by the end of the month as planned.

The Minister of Defense and President of the Independent Greeks Panos Kammenos expressed his confidence regarding the outcome of the ongoing negotiations with the country’s creditors.

Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos and Economy Minister Giorgos Stathakis will hold a marathon meeting on Thursday with creditors to discuss fiscal issues, the new medium-term program for 2016-2020 and non-performing loans.

The Greek government will also request that primary surplus targets are lowered to 2% after 2018 (from 3.5%).

Representatives of the creditor institutions will be in Athens until Friday.

Athens must implement a total of thirteen prior actions by end of September in order to receive a 2.8-billion-euro sub-tranche of bailout money.

European Commissioner for Financial Affairs, Pierre Moscovici, said earlier this week that he expects the completion of the second bailout program review – which begins early October – to be swiftly completed too. Moscovici revealed that the European Commission will provide technical support to complete the review on time.

Having completed more than 70 percent of obligations included in the 3rd bailout MoU signed creditors already, Athens hopes to open detailed talks on debt relief as soon as the second review of its adjustment program is underway.