BUSINESS

Troika talks resume but 'long way to go,' says Greek official

Troika officials were meeting with Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis on Monday afternoon after lengthy talks with other government officials earlier.

The visiting inspectors spent more than five hours with Finance and Labor Ministry officials before heading for Hatzidakis’s office.

“We have a long way to go,” said a Labor Ministry official after the first round of talks.

Greece’s lenders were expected to discuss the issue of home foreclosures with Hatzidakis. The troika wants the ban on the foreclosure of homes worth less than 200,000 euros to be lifted but the government is resisting doing so.

Much of the discussion this week, however, will be focussed on bridging next year’s fiscal gap, with the two sides needing to agree on measures worth around 1.5 billion euros. Athens believes this can be achieved solely through structural changes and this year’s primary surplus.

Talks are expected to continue until at least Thursday, when the government will submit the final version of its 2014 budget to Parliament.

The two sides had been hoping to reach an agreement by the December 9 Eurogroup but it is possible that negotiations will go on for longer.

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