Troika leaves Athens empty-handed
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.