Troika Inspectors Resume Negotiations With Greek Government
ATHENS (MNI) – Inspectors from the European Commission, the ECB and
the IMF – the troika – have returned to Athens and are expected to begin
a new round of meetings with Greek government officials on Monday.
Their meeting with Finance Minister Giannis Stournaras is scheduled
for 11:00 GMT/0700 ET. They will then hold a meeting with Prime Minister
Antonis Samaras, scheduled for 1500 GMT/1100 ET.
The troika is expected to stay at least one week in order to
finalize E13.5 billion worth of measures meant to ensure that Greece
will be able to cut its public deficit below 3% of GDP by 2014 – or by
2016 if Greece receives the two-year extension it is seeking on its
fiscal consolidation program.
So far, Greece has agreed with EU and IMF officials on E9.5 billion
worth of measures. The rest are to be determined in the meetings that
begin today, before the troika concludes its mission and drafts its
eagerly anticipated report on the Greek economy. Based on that report,
the Eurogroup of euro area finance ministers will decide whether the
deeply-indebted country is eligible to receive a E31.5 billion tranche
of bailout loan money.
The Eurogroup will meet in Luxembourg on October 8, but it is
doubtful the report will be finished by then.
The Greek coalition government agreed Friday on a full E13.5
billion in measures, which include a new round of wage and pension cuts.
But their agreement is subject to the troika’s endorsement.
There is speculation that troika officials have already expressed
reservations about certain measures to cut ministry budgets and local
government spending, and that they are not happy about the Greek
government’s reluctance to implement layoffs in the public sector.
The Greek government is required by the constitution to submit a
draft budget for 2013 to the parliament today. However, since
negotiations with the troika officials have not been concluded, the
budget will be subject to heavy revisions.
–Athens bureau ; firstname.lastname@example.org