Deal with troika im­mi­nent

De­tails of the midterm fis­cal plan and pri­va­ti­za­tion pro­gram due tonight or to­mor­row morn­ing

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

The gov­ern­ment and vis­it­ing of­fi­cials of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank and the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund – col­lec­tively known as the troika – have made sig­nif­i­cant progress in on­go­ing talks and are ex­pected to fi­nal­ize the de­tails of the gov­ern­ment’s midterm fis­cal plan and pri­va­ti­za­tion pro­gram by tonight or to­mor­row morn­ing.

Sources close to Prime Min­is­ter Ge­orge Pa­pan­dreou told Kathimerini that talks will have been com­pleted by to­mor­row morn­ing when the premier and Fi­nance Min­is­ter Gior­gos Pa­pa­con­stanti­nou are to start a marathon brief­ing of PASOK MPs and cabi­net mem­bers.

Re­ports that the gov­ern­ment reached an agree­ment with troika of­fi­cials to lower the top rate of value-added tax to 20 per­cent from 23 per­cent – chiefly as a con­ces­sion to the main con­ser­va­tive op­po­si­tion New Democ­racy – were not con­firmed. The troika has been push­ing the gov­ern­ment to seek a broad po­lit­i­cal con­sen­sus in or­der to ease the im­ple­menta- tion of a new raft of aus­ter­ity mea­sures.

In a bid to re­as­sure the coun­try’s for­eign cred­i­tors, and fi­nan­cial mar­kets, the gov­ern­ment is ex­pected to take a de­ci­sive stance on cut­ting state spend­ing, with Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Theodoros Pan­ga­los due to chair a dis­cus­sion on the planned merg­ing and abo­li­tion of dozens of state bod­ies to­day. Among the bod­ies ex­pected to be merged are the three state con­struc­tion firms re­spon­si­ble for school, hos­pi­tal and prison in­fra­struc­ture.

Dozens more bod­ies with vague or ob­so­lete func­tions are to be abol­ished. Those re­main­ing op­er­a­tional will be forced to sack 50 per­cent of work­ers on short-term con­tracts. This pro­vi­sion is ex­pected to ap­ply to state broad­caster ERT.

The mea­sures an­nounced in Athens will be the fo­cus of an emer­gency sum­mit on Mon­day in Brus­sels where Euro­pean fi­nance min­is­ters are to de­cide whether to re­lease of a fifth tranche of fund­ing, es­ti­mated at 12 bil­lion eu­ros, and fur­ther loans.

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