Government team discusses fiscal issues with institutions in first meeting in Athens

The government’s economic team discussed their assessment on Greek fiscal data in their first meeting with the mission chiefs of the institutions in Athens on Monday.

According to government sources, the two sides agreed that Greece has achieved the target for lowering state arrears to the private sector which means that the government expects the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) to approve the disbursement of the remaining 800 million euros of aid when its board meets on October 26.

They also agreed that Greece will exceed significantly its primary surplus target for 2017 but didn’t discuss the government’s announcement to distribute aid worth 1 billion euros to poor Greeks, the same sources said.

Concerning the primary surplus, the government believes it will overshoot its target of 1.75 percent of GDP in 2017 to over 2.2 percent of GDP, which corresponds to 800 million euros.

The two sides also discussed whether measures will be needed in 2018 and it is expected that it will be completed by the end of the week. Government officials said “there is time” until the submission of the 2018 budget in parliament at the end of November.

On ESM’s decision this Thursday, the government expects the disbursement to take place at the start of November. The net change in State arrears towards the private sector from April to September was 1.5 billion euros and 1.25 billion from July to September.

The government believes that, together with the disbursement of the remaining aid of 800 million euros and the installment that will follow the completion of the third review, the conditions will have formed to create a liquidity buffer for Greece’s exit from the program.

Talks will continue on Tuesday with the institutions focusing on issues relating to energy, growth and
banking.

According to the finance ministry, the full schedule is as follows:

09:30 Energy- Energy Minister George Stathakis

11:00 Strategy for growth /Development Bank –Dimitri Papadimitriou

12:00 Financial (out-of-court settlement of debts) –Dimitri Papadimitriou, Euclid Tsakalotos and Effi Achtsioglou

14:30 Program review – Euclid Tsakalotos, George Chouliarakis, Effi Achtsioglou, Dimitris Liakos