The Greek government has begun finalizing its negotiating strategy for the imminent talks with troika officials in Paris, setting four clear priorities for the September meeting.
Kathimerini has learned that the talks have been moved forward a day and will now be held between September 2 and 4. The reason is that there is a Euro Working Group meeting on September 5 in preparation for a gathering of eurozone finance ministers – or Eurogroup – the following week. The troika has been asked to present a detailed account of how the Greek adjustment program is progressing at that meeting of euro area finance chiefs, before the representatives of Greece’s lenders return to Athens for the program’s fifth review in mid-September.
Greece will be represented at the Paris talks by Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis, Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras, Deputy Finance Minister Giorgos Mavraganis, Labor Minister Yiannis Vroutsis, Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Development Minister Nikos Dendias.
Sources have told Kathimerini that the coalition is finalizing its priorities for the meeting with troika officials.
One of the four key aims will be to convince the International Monetary Fund to complete the fifth review without waiting for the European Central Bank to announce the results of its stress tests on local lenders in October. Athens hopes the review will be wrapped up at the beginning of October and that the troika will be able to return to Greece after the stress test results are published so the two sides can discuss the options for further Greek debt relief. The IMF has so far insisted that the ECB must complete its checks before the review can be concluded.
The government is hoping that it will be able to tie down its eurozone partners to a specific timetable for developments after the review is completed. Greece wants a clearer idea of its lenders’ intentions regarding debt relief and whether they will push for a third memorandum of understanding when the current bailout ends.
During the talks, the Greek side will also attempt to get a response from the troika on the actions that it considers of vital importance for the September review to be completed. At the beginning of the month, Greece had some 600 actions to undertake but many of these are considered minor and Athens does not want the review to get bogged down on less significant reforms.
Finally, the Greek ministers are aiming to discuss the issue of tax reductions.