Institution’s mission in Athens objections – The first phase of the negotiations will conclude today

The government’s economic team will meet anew with the heads of the institution’s mission in Athens on Friday to conclude the first phase of the negotiations, it was announced on Thursday.

The meeting will be held at 11.00 (local) and participants are expected to take stock of the first week. The representatives of the institutions are then expected to leave Athens and return after about 10 days to continue the first program review, government sources said.

Yesterday, Labor Minister Giorgos Katrougalos described the negotiations as “detailed and tough.” Ahead of Friday’s last meeting before the lenders’ representatives leave Athens, it was decided that the two sides would try to resolve a series of minor issues before tackling several major conflict points.

These include the lenders’ objection to the 1.5 percentage point rise in social security contributions and setting the minimum national pension at 384 euros per month, which is considered too high.

Another matter yet to be resolved is whether Greeks will have to work a minimum of 15 years, as the government proposes, or 20 years, as the creditors argue, to qualify for a pension.

The lenders have recorded their objections to the government’s proposals in a lengthy e-mail. The Greek side insists that the quartet has not asked outright for a cut to existing pensions, which the government has set as a “red line” in the negotiations.

The government has already tweaked its initial proposals on social security contributions with the aim of limiting the rises faced by the self-employed.