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Negotiations with creditors stall, a wave of strikes rises in Greece

26 October 2015 / 16:10:17  GRReporter
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The preliminary monitoring of the implementation of budgetary measures envisaged in the third rescue programme was unsuccessful and Vice-President of the European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis arrived in Athens following its completion. This morning he talked with leading ministers in the Greek cabinet and at 6:30 pm, he will meet with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

Talks are focused on the problematic issues that are blocking the payment of the first tranche of economic aid, amounting to 2 billion euro. As announced by GRReporter, the main ones among them are the loans in the red and the confiscation of properties from banks, which Dombrovskis discussed with the Minister and Deputy Minister of Finance, namely Efklidis Tsakalotos and George Houliarakis. It was clear from the statements after the meeting that they could possibly be settled even by the end of the day. The Greek media comment that the announcement could be made after the meeting with Alexis Tsipras this afternoon.

So far, Athens has insisted that no seizures and auctions should take place for properties worth less than 300,000 euro when the owner’s family income is under 35,000 euro. Creditors in turn insist on a property ceiling of 120,000 euro and a much lower family income. Sources from the Greek Ministry of Finance indicated that Athens was currently preparing a new proposal to fill the gap between the Greek position and that of creditors. The representatives of the Ministry argued that there could be an agreement by the end of the week.

Another controversial issue is the pension system. Although the government said that the report of the expert commission was only advisory, it seems to be ready to proceed to major cuts, including of pensions below 1,000 euro. The meeting between Valdis Dombrovskis and the Greek Minister of Employment is scheduled for 4:30 pm.

The third important issue is the recapitalisation of Greek banks. According to the Greek media, the bill prepared by the government will most probably be tabled in parliament this coming Friday. At the same time, the report on the capital requirements of financial institutions is due to be released on 30 October and creditors will determine the recapitalisation method on the basis of these requirements. Significantly, this process should be completed by the end of the year or cuts in deposits of over 100,000 euro will otherwise follow.

In statements after the meeting with the leadership of the Greek Ministry of Finance Valdis Dombrovskis it was clear that once the Greek government itself proposed the imposition of a 23% VAT on private education it would either have to implement it or to find alone other budgetary measures to cover the amount expected from it.

He was firm that Brussels would not be lenient regarding the implementation of the terms of the third rescue programme because of the refugee crisis, stressing that the refugee and economic crisis are two different and unrelated things.

The Vice-President of the European Commission requested Athens to work hard and to immediately implement the agreed reform programme, adding that there is no time to waste.

Meanwhile, a wave of protests against the reforms is starting to rise in Greece. Pharmacists began a 24-hour strike today in protest against the liberalisation of their profession. Farmers are in a state of readiness to start roadblocks in the event that the change in their taxation is voted and the trade unions of public and private sector employees ADEDY and GSEE will organize on 12 November a general strike against the pension reform and the budgetary measures.


Tags: PoliticsGreek governmentDelayed implementation of budgetary measures and reformsThird rescue programmeCreditorsVisit of Vice-President of the European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis to Athens
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