The meeting with the Troika revealed gaps and divergence of opinion

The meeting with the Troika revealed gaps and divergence of opinion


By Spiros Sideris – Athens

It took ten hours of discussions behind closed doors at the Villa Saïd in Paris to once again ascertain the impasse between the government and the Troika in the fiscal sector and “bury” the last hopes for a completion of the fifth assessment before the last Eurogroup for this year.

The gap, though smaller, still remains in relation to the fiscal gap and the question of insurance is far from solved.

Bring 2bn-worth of measures say the Troikans, and examine the state budget  euro for euro. No convergence was achieved in relation to the calculated rate of development, with the Troika saying the government should forget the 2.9% (already the OECD adjusted its forecast yesterday to 2.3% in the best case scenario), nor to the amount of revenues from ENFIA (property tax) and VAT.

The Troika is not convinced by the proposals of the Greek side, which is once again trying to increase the revenues for 2015 and argues that even at the last moment Greece must understand that it must cut its spending to close the EUR 2 billion gap.

Exactly because of the space and place the meeting between the two sides took place, it is extremely difficult for auditors to be convinced that “there is no room to reduce budget costs in any other way than cutting wages. It should be noted that the Villa Saïd is a luxurious enclosed facility with houses of the absolute elite and the obscene wealth in Paris, guarded by police and private individuals, and that it is the exact opposite of the austerity and consolidation effort that has fallen unilaterally on the shoulders of the average citizen. The Greek State maintains a luxury property in that district.

The financial gap therefore remains, while there is much more ground to be covered in terms of what the Troika expects in connection with redundancies in the public sector and the unified payroll. The discussion with Kyriakos Mitsotakis of course was conducted in a much better climate than that for the budget or the one that followed with Labour Minister, Giannis Vroutsis, but that does not mean that the two sides have reached an agreement.

“Today’s discussions with the troika focused on financial matters, the insurance, labour issues and administrative reform. The Greek side, in all matters, supported its position and filed complete, strong arguments in a persistent and tough negotiation. There was a rapprochement between the two sides in many aspects of the negotiation and a distance in others. The debate continues and ends on Wednesday”.

The above sentence is the negotiation conclusion that sources in the Ministry of Finance have disclosed, and by the choice of words it is clear that the two sides have not reached and they are not going to reach an agreement.

Today the discussion will continue on the structural measures, where regarding the trade union the government intends to consent to the 50 + 1% for declaring a strike, the lockout and the revision of trade union licenses. The collective redundancies, however, remain a thorn along with the red loans and a number of other administrative acts for the opening of markets, products, energy and services.

On those grounds, even with the biggest converging possible, the Euro Working Group on Thursday will not have a positive recommendation for the country’s exit from the programme. Therefore, the Eurogroup of December 8 is lost and all that remains to save is the disbursement and the FSF funds.

There expected to be a debate on extending the financing for one year or until the Greek side will have completed all prerequisites. Currently, discussions will continue from a distance.