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Meetings with the Troika started

03 March 2013 / 20:03:12  GRReporter
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The agenda of the first meeting of the economic leadership with leaders of the Troika, which was held today, included nine questions. The hot topic regarding lay-offs of civil workers is expected to be discussed tomorrow at a meeting of leaders of the Troika with Minister of Administrative Reform Antonis Manitakis.

According to a senior official of the Ministry of Finance, today's discussion considered all topics, since representatives of the creditors do not have a clear picture of the situation yet. The same source noted that issues posed by the economic leadership to Matthias Morse (from the European Commission), Klaus Masuch (from the European Central Bank) and Mark Flanagan (from the International Monetary Fund, who is substituting Paul Thomsen) included the following:

1. Evaluation of this year's budget, despite the fact that data refer only to the first month of the year.

2. Evaluation of the development of macroeconomic parameters of the Greek economy in 2013.

3. Yiannis Stournaras posed the problem of rising unemployment and its tackling, and representatives of the Troika pay great attention to this issue. It was discussed what measures could be taken in order to limit it, without affecting public goals.

4. Structural changes. The Troika insists on the opening up of closed professions, changes in the energy sector, reforms in the functioning of justice and others.

5. Meeting the requirements for the transfer of the next instalment in March amounting to 2.8 billion euro. The implementation of the new payroll tables of Ministries is critical to this. These affect about 60,000 employees and the government must decide whether to use these employees after the reduction of ministerial structures. Moreover, the government will have to present a programme for the implementation of the programme of available employees up to the end of 2014. The problem of redundancies was not discussed at today's meeting, since it will be the focus of tomorrow's meeting of the Troika with Manitakis. The Minister of Administrative Reform will submit data on the reduction of the number of civil servants (the latest data show that, from early 2010 to late 2012, more than 80,000 employees left, as well as the government’s argumentation about not imposing more redundancies).

6. Tax administration. The economic leadership and representatives of the Troika discussed the issue of changing the mechanism of tax collection: how the new Secretariat of income will operate, its level of independence (the Troika insists on its absolute independence) and whether tasks it has already assumed are enough. A senior official of the economic leadership said that the meeting also discussed various views on which part of the tax policy should be implemented by the Ministry of Finance and which by the new Secretariat. It became clear that the Troika has no clear idea of the activities of the Office for Investigation of Economic Crimes.

7. Privatisation. Although it was not the main topic of the meeting, representatives of the Troika said that they were aware of the privatisation programme and postponed its discussion for the next meeting when they will have more information.

8. Recapitalisation of banks. Capital is available, but there are many open questions - whether banks will be able to cover 10% of the share capital increase of owners, whether they will be included in the recapitalisation programme of "bad" banks, etc. There is a delay in recapitalisation of the banking system, as became clear.

9. Measures that did not lead to the expected results. Greece posed the problem of the failure of certain measures that are being applied and, at the same time, these cause problems for society. Reportedly, the government will seek changes to the VAT for hotels and to the special consumption tax on oil products.

In addition to the meeting with Manitakis tomorrow, representatives of the Troika will also have meetings with other ministers during the week, and, at the end of the week (probably Thursday), they will meet with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. On Wednesday, there will be another meeting with Yiannis Stournaras, and he himself will attend a meeting with Eurogroup tomorrow and another one with Ecofin on Tuesday, when it is expected that pressure for lay-offs will be exercised.

Tags: Troika budget recapitalisation privatisation inspection unemployment
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