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Representatives of the Troika will visit Athens again

30 March 2013 / 18:03:23  GRReporter
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The government is having constant consultations with the economic team regarding the new round of talks with the Troika, representatives of which will arrive in Athens next week. On Friday afternoon, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras called a meeting. On his way out of the meeting, Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras said that they discussed the budget, payment of past liabilities and preparations for the arrival of the Troika. Asked by reporters whether the government was prepared, Stournaras answered in the affirmative.

Another meeting was held between the Prime Minister, the economic team and Governor of the Bank of Greece George Provopoulos. Its main theme was unsolved problems in the recapitalisation of banks and mergers. Yesterday, a long session was also held in the Ministry of Finance as well. In addition to defining ways for the collection of the property tax in 2013, the government also seemed concerned about revenues and social security contributions. After the meeting with the Governor of the Bank of Greece, Stournaras said that there was no 'black hole' in terms of revenues. ''There are no problems with revenues,'' he said, and did not make any statements about the real estate tax, only saying that the issue was being discussed. He also made it clear that no extensions will be made to the term for the recapitalisation of banks.

As for the transfer of the next instalment of 2.8 billion euro, the following questions are still open:

  1. Redundancies in the public sector
  2. Finance of insurance funds
  3. A year’s extension of the special tax paid along with electricity bills
  4. Settlement of liabilities to the public sector
  5. Settlement of overdue liabilities to funds in several instalments
  6. Settlement of banks’ 'red' loans
  7. Insufficient control mechanisms of local governments’ finances
  8. Preparation of a complete plan in the fight against corruption in public services
  9. Accelerating privatisation

A meeting of government partners on Wednesday

As became clear, because of the Troika’s arrival, the Prime Minister will meet President of PASOK Evangelos Venizelos and leader of the Democratic Left Fotis Kouvelis on 3 April. Within the decision on the emergency programme against unemployment, PASOK’s delegation will meet the political leadership of the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Development and Ministry of Labour.

At the same time, in connection with the events in Cyprus, PASOK’s circles posed the problem of updating the framework agreement with the government and rules that settle the relations between the three parties that support the government. ''Now it has emerged that the party was right to ask, without being heard, that specific objectives should be defined first and then proceed to financial measures“, said the same circles. According to them, it is necessary to actively participate in the formulation of government policies with reasonable proposals that would contribute effectively to the progress of the government.

''We want PASOK’s proposals to be adopted by the government because we believe that they are necessary for the development of society''. PASOK is expecting the government’s proposals on outstanding issues, in particular: civil servants, the additional tax on property that is paid along with electricity bills, implementation of the budget in terms of revenues, and settlement of insurance funds liabilities.

SYRIZA sees the arrival of the Troika as 'a complete collapse of the government’s propaganda.' ''Extending the tax to the Electricity Company and lay-offs in the public sector, combined with the budget’s derailing, are two sides of the same coin,'' said the party in a statement, noting that the implementation of the memorandum was creating a cycle in which an error was being corrected by other more destructive measures. According to SYRIZA, the notorious clause of automatic lay-offs was actually recognition of the memorandum’s programme’s failure and evidence of the implementation of the memorandum at any cost. In connection with the Minister of Finance’s allegations that there was no black hole in revenues, SYRIZA’s MP Evklidis Tsakalotos asked that Yiannis Stournaras explain why, instead of returning 490 million euro from taxes, as expected, he had returned only 96 million euro. He also asked why contributions by the EU for the funding of investments were double, when investment in the public sector was actually less than half of what was provided. ''Obviously, Stournaras is trying to convince the public that the memorandum policy will give a result, although it failed in the past. He is probably trying to convince himself that he will not go back to the negotiating table without any new measures,'' said Tsakalotos.

A new attack against the government was initiated by parliamentary representative of the Independent Greeks party, Notis Marias, who said that new measures were being secretly prepared. ''The couple of the memorandum, Stournaras and Provopoulos, fulfilling the wishes of creditors, made hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens unemployed, while, at the same time, caused losses of state revenues; and now, because of the arrival of the Troika, they are secretly preparing new measures that will affect insurance funds, pensions and the minimum wage and will lead to the dismissal of thousands of public employees,'' said Marias.

Tags: Troika budget Yiannis Stournaras measures PASOK Independent Greeks SYRIZA Democratic Left
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