EU min­is­ters to dis­cuss IMF, debt

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Fi­nance min­is­ters of core Euro­pean Union coun­tries are ex­pected to meet later this week to dis­cuss the pos­si­ble con­ces­sions Brus­sels could of­fer to se­cure the par­tic­i­pa­tion of the In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund in Greece’s third in­ter­na­tional bailout, paving the way for debt talks.

Govern­ment of­fi­cials sug­gest that the IMF, which has yet to de­cide whether to join Greece’s third bailout, is to blame for the slow process of talks be­tween Greece and its cred­i­tors.

In a me­dia brief­ing yes­ter­day, govern­ment spokesman Dim­itris Tzanakopou­los ac­knowl­edged that the dif­fer­ences be­tween Greece and its cred­i­tors re­main too great for an agree­ment on all prior ac­tions to be reached by the De­cem­ber 5 Eurogroup meet­ing and said that Athens was aim­ing for a po­lit­i­cal agree­ment by that time.

There is enough time un­til De­cem­ber 5 for agree­ments to be reached in talks on la­bor laws, fis­cal is­sues and the over­haul of the Greek en­ergy sec­tor, Tzanakopou­los said, not­ing that the govern­ment has shown the po­lit­i­cal will nec­es­sary to achieve a break­through by the dead­line. How­ever, he said, this po­lit­i­cal will does not in­clude “a will­ing­ness for new aus­ter­ity mea­sures and con­ces­sions on mat­ters of prin­ci­ple such as la­bor rights.” Elab­o­rat­ing, govern­ment sources said au­thor­i­ties will not re­tract their de­mands for the restora­tion of col­lec­tive la­bor con­tracts.

If all dif­fer­ences have not been bridged by De­cem­ber 5, Greece’s cred­i­tors should is­sue a po­lit­i­cal de­ci­sion and make good on their pledge to launch talks on debt re­lief, Tzanakopou­los said.

Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras is ex­pected to re­peat this mes­sage when he ad­dresses SYRIZA MPs to­day. SYRIZA yes­ter­day backed the govern­ment’s at­tempts to re­store col­lec­tive la­bor con­tracts and called on other par­ties to sup­port the de­mand.

Mi­gra­tion Min­is­ter Yian­nis Mouza­las in­au­gu­rated a re­vamped refugee camp in Rit­sona, north of Athens, yes­ter­day. Around 680 peo­ple are stay­ing in new con­tainer hous­ing at the site. More than 62,000 mi­grants are liv­ing in re­cep­tion cen­ters across the coun­try, many of which are over­crowded, fre­quently fu­el­ing ten­sions, par­tic­u­larly on is­lands in the eastern Aegean, the first point of en­try for mi­grants ar­riv­ing from Turkey.

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