New pro­pos­als on way to troika

Greece ex­pected to give ground on VAT hikes and changes to pen­sion sys­tem to al­low re­view to con­tinue

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

The troika is set to de­cide to­day if it is sat­is­fied with a range of pro­pos­als it has re­ceived from the Greek gov­ern­ment aimed at over­com­ing dif­fer­ences be­tween the two sides and paving the way for in­spec­tors to re­turn to Athens to com­plete the pend­ing re­view.

Prime Min­is­ter An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras and Deputy Premier Evan­ge­los Venizelos met for more than two hours yes­ter­day to dis­cuss which of the troika’s de­mands the gov­ern­ment would agree to.

Greece’s lenders have asked for the gov­ern­ment to find mea­sures that would cover a 2015 fis­cal gap of be­tween 2 and 3 bil­lion euros, to change the value-added tax brack­ets, to re­form the pen­sion sys­tem and to make changes to the re­cent law al­low­ing up to 100 in­stall­ments for tax ar­rears.

“The gov­ern­ment must swiftly take all the nec­es­sary mea­sures so that the on­go­ing pro­gram is com­plete,” Euro­pean Eco­nomic Af­fairs Com­mis­sioner Pierre Moscovici said yes­ter­day in Brussels.

“There is a lot go­ing on,” said Fi­nance Min­is­ter Gikas Har­dou­velis as he left the Max­i­mos Man­sion after talks with Sa­ma­ras and Venize- los, who chose not to make any com­ments.

Kathimerini un­der­stands that that the pro­pos­als the Greek side was pre­par­ing to send yes­ter­day would in­clude mov­ing some prod­ucts and ser­vices from the low­est VAT rate of 6.5 per­cent to the next bracket of 13 per­cent. The gov­ern­ment, how­ever, is mind­ful that this should not af­fect medicines and other prod­ucts that are con­sid­ered ba­sic needs.

La­bor Min­is­ter Yan­nis Vrout­sis was also draft­ing changes to the pen­sion sys­tem. Th­ese are likely to in­clude in­creas­ing the min­i­mum num­ber of days of in­sured work that some­one will have to com­plete be­fore qual­i­fy­ing for a state pen­sion. Cur­rently, it is 4,500 days but this will in­crease to 6,500.

The pro­pos­als will also put an end to ex­emp­tions that al­low some Greeks, such as fe­male civil ser­vants, moth­ers of young chil­dren, bank and pub­lic or­ga­ni­za­tion em­ploy­ees, to claim pen­sions early. Kathimerini un­der­stands that the new regime would pre­vent any­one re­tir­ing be­fore they have reached the age of 62. It is es­ti­mated that this would af­fect some 100,000 peo­ple who could claim early re­tire­ment.

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