Labour issues and Social Security the main “thorns” in negotiations

Labour issues and Social Security the main “thorns” in negotiations

Athens, April 2, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Spiros Sideris

The Social Security and labour issues have emerged as the main “thorns” in the negotiations between Greece and its creditors.

According to a senior executive of the Finance Ministry, the EuroWorking Group Wednesday made an overview of the progress achieved in both in the Brussels Group and in the technical Teams in Athens.

The EuroWorking Group will convene again next Monday to prepare the informal Eurogroup of Latvia on April 24.

The same source in the Finance Ministry said that the meeting took place in a very good atmosphere and confirmed the progress that has been recorded in the Brussels Group, adding that Wednesday the Greek side sent to representatives of institutions 26 text pages “which further supported the Greek positions”.

As he clarified, the most important issue that has arisen is the government’s refusal to accept the zero deficit clause on supplementary pensions, which, could lead to pension reductions of up to 70%.

Creditors view this issue as a setback.

The same executive suffered a host of questions about the financial needs of the country and what will be done with its obligations to lenders and the payment of salaries and pensions, but refused to answer saying “no comment”.

Asked about the issue of ENFIA and the government’s intentions he said that the ENFIA will be abolished in 2015 and replaced with a new property tax which will not yield revenue of EUR 2.65 billion as the existing tax, but less.

There will be no hole in the budget, he was quick to add, as the additional revenue will be collected from other sources.