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Greece close to deal with troika on EAS that would secure 1-bln-euro tranche

Greek government officials had what they called “constructive” talks with troika officials over the weekend regarding the future of Hellenic Defense Systems (EAS) but were not able to bridge their differences over home foreclosures.

A Finance Ministry official told Kathimerini that he would be “surprised” if an agreement on EAS is not reached by the end of Monday.

Greece is due to provide on Monday a month-by-month year-long plan for a streamlined version of EAS. This will then be sent to the Euro Working Group, which will advise the Eurogroup, which meets on Tuesday afternoon, on whether the 1-billion-euro subtranche outstanding since the summer should be released.

If things go according to plan, the European Stability Mechanism would transfer the money to Athens on Thursday.

However, Greece and the troika remained some distance apart on the home foreclosures issue, according to a Development Ministry official. The sticking point appears to be the exact criteria that will be implemented to protect some homeowners when the moratorium on foreclosures expires at the end of the year.

Two other issues that remain unresolved are what will happen to VAT in the food service sector and a difference between the two sides over how much the new property tax will bring in next year.

On VAT, there is still no agreement between Greece and the troika on whether the temporary reduction to the levy at restaurants will be made permanent or not.

As for the property tax, Athens believes it will generate 2.65 billion euros in revenues next year. The troika believes Greek authorities will collect no more than 2.33 billion.

ekathimerini.com , Monday December 16, 2013 (11:06)  
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