Troika ar­rival likely to be post­poned

Tar­get date for an agree­ment with the coun­try’s cred­i­tors will be de­ferred to Fe­bru­ary as talks hit snags

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY SOTIRIS NIKAS

Fe­bru­ary 17 will prob­a­bly be the new tar­get date for a deal be­tween the gov­ern­ment and the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the coun­try’s cred­i­tors – known as the troika – as the dif­fer­ences ex­ist­ing since De­cem­ber are yet to be bridged.

Fi­nance Min­istry of­fi­cials and troika sources say that the heads of the mis­sions of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, the Euro­pean Cen­tral bank and the In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund will likely not re­turn to Athens next week, which means that the Jan­uary 27 tar­get date for the com­ple­tion of ne­go­ti­a­tions will be missed – even though there still are some who say a deal by that date can­not yet be ruled out.

The most likely sce­nario at the mo­ment fa­vors a con­ver­gence af­ter the Jan­uary 27 Eurogroup meet­ing of eu­ro­zone fi­nance min­is­ters and up to Fe­bru­ary 17, with a view to the dis­burse­ment of the next tranch- es from late Fe­bru­ary to early March.

The new de­lay il­lus­trates the dif­fi­culty of the ne­go­ti­a­tions, with the troika sig­nal­ing to Athens it will not re­turn un­less it is clear that an agree­ment can come out of the talks. In this con­text, it is all but cer­tain that the troika will not ar­rive in Athens next week as the data the Greek gov­ern­ment has sent to its cred­i­tors on a se­ries of is­sues are con­sid­ered in­suf­fi­cient and their as­sess­ment has not been com­pleted yet.

There are three main fields of dis­agree­ment, con­cern­ing the fis­cal gaps and pro­mo­tion of struc­tural re­forms. The troika es­ti­mates this year’s fis­cal gap at 1 to 1.5 bil­lion eu­ros and ex­pects the gov­ern­ment to present mea­sures to bridge it. The Fi­nance Min­istry coun­ters that it has al­ready sent the cred­i­tors a list of mea­sures of per­ma­nent char­ac­ter to that ef­fect.

Then there is the fis­cal gap an­tic­i­pated for 2015, which the troika puts at 2 to 3 bil­lion eu­ros, while Athens es­ti­mates it at 1 bil­lion eu­ros. The ex­act amount will de­pend on whether Greece takes per­ma­nent mea­sures this year, tak­ing the gap to 2 bil­lion eu­ros, or tem­po­rary ones that would al­low the gap to open up to 3 bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to troika es­ti­mates.

There are also cer­tain planned re­forms such as the abo­li­tion of levies in fa­vor of third par­ties, num­ber­ing be­tween 150 and 200, of which some 50 to 60 are des­tined for the scrap heap.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Greece

© PressReader. All rights reserved.