Athens, December 11, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency
By Zacharias Petrou
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is preparing for the difficult tabling of prior actions in parliament and the crucial bill on social security reform that will follow in the New Year.
Tsipras is scheduling meetings with several Syriza MPs from all over Greece in order to make sure that the measures brought to parliament will be pushed through without the coalition government losing any votes. The first of these meetings were held on Thursday.
The series of talks with lawmakers will primarily focus on the specific problems of their respective regions. However, with difficult reforms coming up, such as the introduction of a unified salary scheme for civil servants and tax hikes for farmers, the premier will be keen to hear the views of his MPs.
The PM recently told state broadcaster ERT in an interview that it would be “suspicious” for any Syriza deputy to vote down measures introduced by the government since they knew what the bailout agreement entailed before the recent general election.
Tsipras will also address the Syriza Central Political Committee which meets on the weekend where he is expected present the short and medium – term goals of his government.
Meanwhile, difficult talks with creditors continue in Athens over the next set of prior actions that the Greek government needs to implement in order to unlock a 1 billion euros sub-tranche from its rescue loans package. Progress was noted on several issues on Thursday, a day before creditors departed Athens.
Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos discussed the specifics of the creation of a new Asset Fund worth 50 billion euros (over 30 years) with the troika officials. The creation of the Fund has stalled, causing distress to creditors.
Also, creditors and the government have been discussing non-performing loans this week. According to local reports the troika has dismissed the proposal of Economy Minister Giorgos Stathakis to exclude distress funds from the acquisition of bad household and business loans.
Analysts point out that the government may attempt to appear as if it is strongly resisting pressure from creditors for overly ambitious and harsh reforms in order to rally the governing coalition MPs to support the bills that will be brought to parliament imminently.
Finance Minister Eu. Tsakalotos told The Guardian in an interview: “My biggest worry is … reform fatigue, laws keep coming, laws keep being passed and people don’t see light at the end of the tunnel. We have had 12 cuts in pensions already.”