Greek government hoping to bridge difference with troika within week

Greek government hoping to bridge difference with troika within week


By Lefteris Yallouros – Athens

Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras will meet with troika officials in Athens Monday as inspection of the country’s adjustment effort continues.

Stournaras said Sunday that an effort is being made to bridge differences and reach an agreement with the troika in time. He did however predict that Monday is too soon for a deal to be struck.

Progress must be made before Thursday, in any case, as the 2014 budget is set to be submitted to Parliament.

Prior actions in order for Greece to receive the next tranche of its rescue loan (EUR 1 billion) include settling debts to EYDAP and EYATH water companies, seeing through the public sector mobility scheme and settling the future of the Hellenic Defense Systems.

The ongoing inspection is also stuck on other important issues such as the limit on home foreclosures and the size of the 2014 fiscal gap and if measures are needed in order for it to be bridged.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras visits Berlin on Friday where he is set to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel for talks which may prove critical for the way negotiations with the troika turn out.

Greek Foreign Minsiter, and government vice Chairman, Evangelos Venizelos gave some indication on the “red lines” Greece has set in the negotiations with the troika and which Samaras will take to the meeting with Merkel.

Venizelos said the government is open to discussing structural reform measure, however, fiscal measures are not open for discussion and fresh austerity will not be imposed.

The primary surplus that Greece looks set to achieve by the end of the year amounting to EUR 780 million is used as evidence by the Greek administration of the huge fiscal effort made and the significant progress made on this front.