Troika leaves Athens empty-handed

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

The gov­ern­ment’s last meet­ing of the first round of ne­go­ti­a­tions with the heads of the troika con­cluded at the Fi­nance Min­istry on Tues­day, with the del­e­ga­tion leav­ing Athens with­out an agree­ment and re­turn­ing on Oc­to­ber 26, after the re­sults of the banks’ stress tests have been re­vealed.

How­ever, the troika re­mains un­con­vinced that Greece can sur­vive with­out for­eign support fol­low­ing the tabling of the 2015 draft bud­get in par­lia­ment.

The bud­get fore­sees the coun­try’s deficit shrink­ing to 338 mln euros in 2015 (0.2% of GDP) and its pri­mary sur­plus (the bud­get be­fore in­ter­est pay­ments) ris­ing to 5.42 bln euros in 2015 (2.9% of GDP) from 3.6 bln euros in 2014.

Ac­cord­ing to Bloomberg, the troika con­tin­ues to see the coun­try’s con­di­tion as frag­ile. “Greece’s cred­i­tors would pre­fer to keep some form of cred­i­ble back­stop in case mar­ket con­di­tions worsen,” said a re­cent Bloomberg ar­ti­cle.

Last week, Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank Pres­i­dent Mario Draghi also made Prime Min­siter An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras’s plans for an early exit more dif­fi­cult by say­ing that the coun­try’s banks would only be able to make use of the ECB’s ABS pur­chase pro­gramme – de­signed to in­crease the liq­uid­ity in the mar­ket – if the coun­try re­mained un­der a rigid pro­gram of eco­nomic surveil­lance.

On Satur­day, Fi­nance Min­is­ter Gikas Har­dou­velis will leave for Wash­ing­ton in or­der to meet with IMF chief Chris­tine La­garde. The meet­ing will fo­cus on the eval­u­a­tion of the Greek econ­omy, the pub­lic debt and the con­clu­sion of the Euro­pean mem­o­ran­dum in late 2014.

Fur­ther­more, no agree­ment was reached dur­ing a three­hour meet­ing be­tween the de­vel­op­ment min­istry and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Greece’s lenders on Mon­day.

“There was no point of dis­agree­ment but there was no agree­ment ei­ther,” a se­nior min­istry of­fi­cial told ANA-MPA, adding that the two sides could not reach an agree­ment, but meet­ings will con­tinue be­tween tech­ni­cal teams.

Dur­ing the meet­ing, troika of­fi­cials re­quested more guar­an­tees and checks on set­tling non-per­form­ing loans for debtors owing dozens of mil­lions of euros.

The min­istry be­lieves th­ese guar­an­tees can be eas­ily pro­vided, but it is un­clear when the gov­ern­ment will be able to pro­vide troika of­fi­cials with de­tails on the fis­cal im­pact of the mea­sures to com­plete the agree­ment.

“Since we have not closed re­lated ne­go­ti­ated is­sues on non-per­form­ing loans it is not pos­si­ble to close just this is­sue,” the same of­fi­cial said.

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