Cred­i­tors back in town

Talks to be­gin on re­forms, bud­get as min­is­ters asked to keep mum on pro­pos­als

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials are to re­ceive rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Greece’s in­ter­na­tional cred­i­tors in Athens to­day for talks on re­form com­mit­ments and the state of the coun­try’s fi­nances.

Fi­nance Min­is­ter Eu­clid Tsakalo­tos is to meet twice to­day with en­voys from the so-called quadriga – the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank, the In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund and the Euro­pean Sta­bil­ity Mech­a­nism. The first meet­ing, which will also in­volve State Min­is­ter Alekos Flam­bouraris, is to be­gin at 9 a.m. and will fo­cus on the re­forms that Greece must im­ple­ment to un­lock res­cue loans. The sec­ond meet­ing, which is to start at 6 p.m., is to fo­cus on financial and fis­cal af­fairs, the bud­get for 2016 and tax mat­ters. Al­ter­nate Fi- nance Min­is­ters Gior­gos Hou­liarakis and Try­fon Alex­i­aidis are also set to at­tend. Both meet­ings will take place in “a cen­tral Athens ho­tel,” a Fi­nance Min­istry of­fi­cial said.

The mea­sures linked to Greece’s third bailout amount to some 7 bil­lion eu­ros for next year alone, chiefly from tax in­creases and an over­haul of the pen­sion sys­tem.

Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras and his close aides are said to have been both­ered by the fact that cer­tain min­is­ters ex­pressed their opin­ions pub­licly on con­tentious re­forms, no­tably on how the pen­sion sys­tem should be over­hauled. Mean­while an ex­perts’ study of Greek pen­sions has been all but re­jected by the gov­ern­ment, which ap­pears to re­gard it as too harsh. La­bor Min­is­ter Gior­gos Ka­trouga­los, who in a late-night in­ter­view on Mon­day her­alded a ma­jor over­haul of the pen­sion sys­tem, fore­see­ing one state-paid pen­sion of around 390 eu­ros and a sec­ond com­pris­ing a worker’s so­cial se­cu­rity con­tri­bu­tions, back­tracked yes­ter­day. Af­ter his com­ments fu­eled fears that aux­il­iary pen­sions would be axed, Ka­trouga­los said he had ex­pressed his own opin­ions and the gov­ern­ment’s stance would be clar­i­fied in the com­ing days.

Of­fi­cials have been in­structed to keep their thoughts to them­selves as top min­is­ters pre­pare to dis­cuss with for­eign au­di­tors Greece’s pro­pos­als for al­ter­na­tives to con­tentious fis­cal pol­icy mea­sures.

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