NEWS

Stournaras discusses nine issues with troika

By Sotiris Nikas

The first meeting between the heads of the representation of Greece’s creditors in Athens and Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras this month took place on Sunday in a good climate, according to sources, without any serious disagreements and with nine main issues on the table.

According to a top Finance Ministry official, the discussion that lasted for about four hours came to no decisions as the representatives of the country’s international creditors did not have a full picture of the situation.

In the absence of the head of the International Monetary Fund’s mission to Athens, Poul Thomsen, the Fund was represented by Mark Flanagan and Bob Traa, who sat by Matthias Mors of the European Commission and Klaus Masuch from the European Central Bank.

The discussion concerned estimates on the course of this year’s budget, the course of Greece’s macroeconomics for 2013, growth and unemployment, structural changes such as the opening-up of closed-shop professions, the optimum use of some 60,000 ministry employees, tax administration, privatizations, the recapitalization of banks, and the measures that have failed to improve state revenues, with the government asking for changes to the value-added tax on food catering and to the special consumption tax on fuel.

The issue of public sector layoffs was not discussed, but will form a key part of the meeting the foreign representatives will have on Monday with Interior Minister Antonis Manitakis.

They will meet with Stournaras again on Wednesday, as the Greek Finance Minister will be in Brussels on Monday and Tuesday for the Eurogroup and ECOFIN meetings.

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