“Some progress” between troika and government on critical issues

Another round of talks between the coalition government and the troika ended last night and while the Ministry of Finances is preparing to submit the 2014 budget for discussion in Parliament, a number of critical issues remain unresolved, including the 2014 fiscal gap.

A senior finance officer revealed that the troika is more concerned on the structural interventions rather than the fiscal gap and that a deal might not have been struck with the Greek side “but it is close”. Furthermore the budget will contain specific targets, based on the provisions and demands of the 2014-2017 midterm plans.

Yesterday’s afternoon negotiations at the Ministry of Finances with the troika representatives ended at around 8pm, with the senior officer commenting that “there was progress”, but there has been no agreement on so far. The negotiations are expected to carry on until the Eurogroup on the 9th of December and it has not yet been determined when the troika will return to Athens.

Preliminary agreements for defense industries, real estate tax, auctions and gap

The two sides discussed the future of EAS and ELVO, with Athens arguing that the defense industries must remain in operation and EAS must continue its export activities. The troika representatives are in favor of a “sudden death”, with the government preferring to restructure in operation.

Regarding the gap, the troika has requested cuts in the main pensions dispensed by the so-called “privileged funds”, in supplementary pensions, lump sums as well as the wages and pensions of military officers. The Greek negotiators have refused to carry out any across the board measures, insisting that it will only carry out “structural interventions”.

The troika is not convinced that the Greek public revenue services are in the position to collect the 2.65 billion euros the Greek side claims it will collect and has thus requested that a further 150 million euros be collected through additional measures. The troika is also not willing to accept a 250 million euro cut from the public investment program to cover the changes introduced by New Democracy and PASOK MPs.

While there was no agreement for the ban on primary residence auctions, the troika is appearing to accept a partial deregulation and is willing to discuss a mutually-accepted solution with the Ministry of Growth. The government is planning to submit a plan that will affect big land owners.