Troika puts new re­quests on the ta­ble

Lenders want more la­bor mar­ket lib­er­al­iza­tion and ideas clos­ing 2014 fis­cal gap

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

The troika re­sumed talks with Greek of­fi­cials on Satur­day af­ter a brief pause, with sev­eral is­sues, in­clud­ing the lift­ing of re­stric­tions on sack­ings in the pri­vate sec­tor and a fis­cal gap of some 800 mil­lion eu­ros for 2014, on the ne­go­ti­at­ing ta­ble.

Fi­nance Min­is­ter Yan­nis Stournaras met with the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank and In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund in cen­tral Athens on Satur­day. There were re­ports that the Greek side aimed to raise again the is­sue of re­duc­ing value-added tax in the food ser­vice sec­tor. How­ever, the troika’s de­mands of Greece were far more nu­mer­ous.

Kathimerini un­der­stands that one of the is­sues up for dis­cus­sion is re­mov­ing the lim­its to dis­missals. Last year, Greece had raised the num­ber of peo­ple that com­pa­nies with more than 200 em­ploy­ees could fire in one month from 2 to 5 per­cent of the firm’s work­force. The govern­ment had also re­duced the com­pen­sa­tion that em­ploy­ers had to pay. The troika wants fur­ther lib­er­al­iza­tion. It ar­gues that this will also make it eas­ier for new work­ers to be hired.

An­other is­sue be­ing dis­cussed by the two sides is the fis­cal gap for next year, which is es­ti­mated at 800 mil­lion eu­ros. The troika has yet to re­ceive pro­pos­als from the Greek govern­ment about how this short­fall will be cov­ered. The dis­cus­sion has taken on greater ur­gency af­ter the col­lapse of the pri­va­ti­za­tion of gas firm DEPA last Mon­day, when Gazprom with­drew its bid.

Greece ex­pects that the Euro Work­ing Group will re­lease its next bailout tranche of 3.3 bil­lion eu­ros this week.

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