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A Saturday marathon with the Troika

15 March 2014 / 16:03:46  GRReporter
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The meeting of Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras and head of the Financial Stability Fund Anastasia Sakellariou with representatives of the Troika has ended. Its main topic was the recapitalization of banks, and, in particular, Eurobank.

The meetings of the Troika with Minister of Employment Yiannis Vrоutsis and the Minister of Environment, which were originally scheduled for Friday evening, were postponed for Sunday 11:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., respectively. Tomorrow, at 3:00 p.m., there will be a meeting of Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis with representatives of creditors.

Ever since Friday noon, Stournaras has had meetings with Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Change Yiannis Maniatis, as well as with Deputy Minister of Energy and Environment Asimakis Papageorgiou.

Meanwhile, the issue of collective redundancies has become a head-on collision in the negotiations with the Troika.

"After such reforms on the labour market and the achievement of balance, the Troika cannot request forceful discharges. At a time when employers and employees have found a way to reach an agreement on the issue, the Troika cannot want more," said a senior government representative on Friday, describing one of the two “red lines” of the government.

The other “red line” includes cuts in the public sector. "The Troika has not withdrawn its request for redundancies in 2015," said the same representative, who participated in the negotiations. "We are trying to convince them that this is a measure which cannot be applied, since it will shake 600,000 employees because of a relatively small number of laid-off."

A little later, a representative of the Ministry of Labour stressed: "The government is aiming to meet the demands of the Troika with realism and arguments." This means that Minister Yiannis Vrоutsis will return in the afternoon to the negotiations with the Troika with a proposal to resolve the disagreement on the issue of group lay-offs.

The start of negotiations

"We will start from the beginning," said a senior representative of the Ministry of Finance after the two-hour meeting with the economic headquarters of the Troika on Thursday. At 12:00 p.m., Yiannis Vrоutsis went to the Ministry of Finance and later, at 2:00 p.m., he had a meeting with Yiannis Stournaras.

He will return for the talks with the Troika in the afternoon. Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis will also have a meeting with Stournaras. In the afternoon, there will be a new meeting of the economic staff with creditors in order to determine the final text of the agreement with the Troika. However, no one can predict the successful outcome of negotiations. "Time presses both sides. We will not be the only ones who will lose if we do not finish on Sunday," said a senior government official.

When asked, he said that the issue of banks is being considered only with regard to the bill for the recapitalization (which is expected to be submitted to parliament next week), since the subject of stress tests is no longer a reason to block the evaluation. As for Eurobank, he referred the matter to the Financial Stability Fund, which is the main shareholder.

The Ministry of Finance highlights the following points:

- There is no financial deficit for 2014;

- The conflict about employment remains open. The issue of group lay-offs is the “red line” for the government;

- Restructuring is the main topic;

- The topic of stress tests of banks is no longer on the table;

- After Easter and before the European elections the government will allocate the public dividend from the budget surplus;

- There is no subject about cuts in the public sector in 2015;

- There is no agreement on tax matters. It is possible that the government will take action on a mini tax code with exemptions in terms of fines and other provisions without the consent of the Troika.

Tags: Troika negotiations collective redundancies Yiannis Stournaras Yiannis Vroutsis
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