Finmin, Labour minister conclude meeting with institutions in Athens

Ο υπουργός Οικονομικών Ευκλείδης Τσακαλώτος προσέρχεται στο ξενοδοχείο Χίλτον για συνάντηση με τους εκπροσώπους των θεσμών. ΑΠΕ-ΜΠΕ, ΣΥΜΕΛΑ ΠΑΝΤΖΑΡΤΖΗ

Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos on Thursday concluded a meeting with the representatives of the institutions on a first review of Greece’s programme. In statements afterward, the minister said there had been an introductory talk, during which they discussed the agenda for the negotiations.

The heads of the institutions’ missions in Athens and the government’s economic team will have another meeting on Thursday at 17:00, a senior source within Greece’s economic team revealed, saying the meeting will focus on fiscal issues, following meetings on Wednesday to draw up a programme for one week. At the end of the week, the representatives of the country’s creditors will then decide whether they need to stay in Athens any longer.
Finance ministry sources said that the meeting with the institutions will take place at 17:30 on Thursday to discuss changes in income tax, while at 19:30 they have scheduled a discussion on developmental strategy in the agricultural sector.

The second and most crucial round of the review of the Greek programme started on Wednesday, with the return of the institutions’ mission chiefs to Athens. Declan Costello (European Commission), Rasmus Refer (European Central Bank), Delia Velculescu (IMF) and Nicola Giammarioli (ESM). The heads of the institutions also met with Economy Minister George Stathakis in the afternoon and Labour Minister George Katrougalos to discuss the changes in the pension system.

After the meeting, Katrougalos said the institutions did not request a cut in main pensions but that they’re interested in the balance between benefits and contributions in social security. He said the government is instead interested in the redistributive element of social security and that it is seeking a balance.

He also said that it’s not possible to achieve an agreement on pension reforms soon and that “it will take a decision by the Eurogroup”, noting that he doesn’t know if there will be an extra meeting of Eurozone finance ministers.
The minister also said the two sides presented a road map for the negotiations on social security which is made up of four parts: The architecture of the system (national pension and replacement rates), measures for farmers and the self-employed and the government’s new proposals which were submitted to the institutions, the recalculation of 2018 pensions and the way to implement personal disputes, and supplementary pensions.
He said said his aim is to examine initially the first three issues and to leave supplementary pensions last.

The negotiations will focus on the new tax system, the creation of a privatisation fund, the new social security system, the fiscal gap and the non-performing loans.

The Greek side wants the review to complete within March or early April and the discussion for the debt relief to start as soon as possible.

ΑΝΑ-MPA, Athens

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