Com­pro­mise in works

Brus­sels meet­ing pos­si­ble to­day as cred­i­tors said to pre­pare fi­nal pro­posal

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Spec­u­la­tion swirled last night that Fi­nance Min­is­ter Eu­clid Tsakalo­tos would meet with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Greece’s in­ter­na­tional cred­i­tors in Brus­sels to­day in a bid to break a dead­lock in bailout ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to sources, cred­i­tors are pre­par­ing a fi­nal pro­posal for Athens fore­see­ing Greek au­thor­i­ties adopt­ing fis­cal mea­sures equal to about 2 per­cent of gross do­mes­tic prod­uct.

The pres­sure from Greece’s cred­i­tors for ad­di­tional mea­sures and the ap­par­ent ab­sence of a clear plan as re­gards the gov­ern­ment’s next steps have fu­eled a sense of un­cer­tainty and prompted ap­par­ently con­tra­dic­tory state­ments by gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials. De­spite wide­spread spec­u­la­tion that the gov­ern­ment is pre­pared to lower the tax-free thresh­old, Econ­omy Min­is­ter Dim­itris Pa­padim­itriou in­sisted, in com­ments to the Wall Street Jour­nal pub­lished yes­ter­day, that au­thor­i­ties would do no such thing. Par­lia­ment Speaker Nikos Vout­sis struck a sim­i­lar tone yes­ter­day, telling the TVXS news web­site that the gov­ern­ment would not ac­cept any mea­sures be­yond those agreed in 2015 and 2016.

How­ever, one SYRIZA MP, Dim­itris Vet­tas, yes­ter­day sug­gested that the gov­ern­ment could leg­is­late con­tin­gency mea­sures, in line with cred­i­tors’ de­mands rather than risk­ing in­creas­ing un­cer­tainty.

Al­ready, the grow­ing sense of un­cer­tainty fu- eled by the im­passe in ne­go­ti­a­tions has taken its toll. Greek banks have been bom­barded with ques­tions by de­pos­i­tors and a trend in sav­ings re­turn­ing to banks has re­versed, sources say. De­posits are said to have plunged some 1.5 bil­lion eu­ros since the be­gin­ning of this year.

Euro­pean of­fi­cials and the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund re­it­er­ated their po­si­tions vis-a-vis Greece yes­ter­day. The head of the Euro­pean Sta­bil­ity Mech­a­nism, Klaus Regling, said in an ar­ti­cle in the Fi­nan­cial Times that the so­lu­tion for Greece is to be found in re­forms, not debt re­lief. The IMF’s Gerry Rice mean­while in­sisted that debt re­lief is nec­es­sary but that the Fund’s sup­port for Greece de­pends on re­forms.

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