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Stournaras not certain talks with troika will conclude on Monday

Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras has refused to commit on the question of whether Greece and the troika will conclude their talks on Monday after lengthy discussions over the weekend.

“I don’t know [if talks will conclude today],” said Stournaras after he left talks with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras at lunchtime on Monday.

“We are close but I don’t know if we will wrap up [today],” added the finance minister. “We are trying to conclude things.”

Greek government representatives held 14 hours of talks on Sunday but differences remained on a number of issues.

These include extra civil service sackings, regulations on mass dismissals, the use of the primary surplus and liberalization measures.

Talks have been complicated somewhat by the troika demanding the dismissal of civil servants in 2015. Until now, the two sides had stuck to a plan for 15,000 public sector workers to be sacked by the end of this year. Athens has so far rejected the troika’s request for more dismissals.

Greece’s lenders are also insisting that Greece adopt all of the liberalization measures recommended by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in its so-called “tool-kit.” The government has indicated it is only willing to implement around 80 percent of the measures, which are aimed at enhancing competition.

Last week’s Eurogroup had concluded with finance ministers calling on Greece and the troika to reach an agreement on the latest review of the country’s adjustment program by the end of the same week.

ekathimerini.com , Monday March 17, 2014 (14:03)  
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