Min­is­ters brief MPs on progress of bailout talks

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Fi­nance Min­is­ter Eu­clid Tsakalo­tos and La­bor and So­cial In­sur­ance Min­is­ter Effie Acht­sioglou yes­ter­day briefed SYRIZA law­mak­ers on the progress of bailout talks and the stick­ing points but the move ap­peared to in­crease MPs’ con­cerns rather than eas­ing them.

The 45 SYRIZA MPs who at­tended the brief­ing, less than a third of the party’s 144 law­mak­ers, were asked to par­tic­i­pate ac­tively in the brief­ing by of­fer­ing sug­ges­tions as to how bones of con­tention in the talks can be tack­led.

Ac­cord­ing to sources, the min­is­ters ad­mit­ted that there was a con­sid­er­able gap be­tween Greek of­fi­cials and bailout mon­i­tors to be bridged.

It ap­pears that the gov­ern­ment is pre­pared to com­pro­mise on cred­i­tors’ de­mands for low­er­ing the tax-free thresh­old to around 6,000 eu­ros. How­ever, the for­eign en­voys’ in­sis­tence on a full lib­er­al­iza­tion of the la­bor mar­ket – with the fa­cil­i­ta­tion of mass lay­offs – is still caus­ing fric­tion in talks. Sources in­di­cated that bailout mon­i­tors have shown more un­der­stand­ing on the thorny is­sue of pen­sions, in­di­cat­ing that the fur­ther trim­ming of pay­ments can be post­poned for the time be­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to sources, though dis­heart­ened by the in­for­ma­tion re­layed to them by the min­is­ters, MPs asked to re­ceive an up­date on the progress of ne­go­ti­a­tions over the com­ing days.

Although Greece is on the of­fi­cial agenda of talks for a sched­uled sum­mit of euro­zone fi­nance min­is­ters next Mon­day, no con­clu­sive deal is ex­pected to be reached. It is seen as more likely that some kind of break­through might be achieved at a sub­se­quent Eurogroup meet­ing planned for April 7.

Mean­while, plans to pi­lot an eval­u­a­tion of civil ser­vants, start­ing in April, have come up against the ob­jec­tions of ADEDY, the pub­lic sec­tor union, and POE-OTA, the fed­er­a­tion of lo­cal gov­ern­ment unions, which are calling for the pro­ce­dure to be scrapped.

ADEDY went as far as say­ing that civil ser­vants will ab­stain from tak­ing part in the ap­praisal process, while POE-OTA has called on may­ors to hold back un­til there is a meet­ing with Min­is­ter of Ad­min­is­tra­tive Re­form Olga Gerovasili. The lat­est ob­jec­tions could fur­ther de­lay the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the process.

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