ECONOMY

Final push for agreement on open issues with troika

The government and its creditors’ representatives are in a race against time to ensure that all the chapters of their negotiations are completed by Sunday, as Finance Ministry officials stressed on Thursday that it is to everyone’s benefit that the inspection ends within schedule even if that means Greece will then need to rush to implement all prior actions.

To this end, the government will table a multiple draft law on Monday that will include all actions required for the completion of the inspection by the representatives of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund – collectively known as the troika. On the same day the Eurogroup will discuss the disbursement of the next bailout tranche of 8.1 billion euros.

Finance Ministry officials will hold talks with the troika again on Friday morning in the presence of the governor of the Bank of Greece to find solutions to two of the main problems: The first concerns the deficit of the country’s main healthcare provider EOPYY, with a claw-back scheme certain to be employed in order to set a ceiling on the expenses of private clinics and diagnostic centers covered by the organization. The total number of structural reforms for putting EOPYY in order stands at 22, but according to sources there is still a gap of 150-200 million euros for 2013 that will have to be covered.

The second issue is with the troika’s insistence on a tax of 0.2 percent of companies’ turnover that should go toward the social security fund of the self-employed (OAEE). That measure would have fetched 600 million euros in 2014, but the government wants to avoid it, proposing instead measures such as abolishing exemptions in OAEE pensions.

A draft law has also been agreed regarding the new Single Property Tax for 2014, which will reach Parliament in September. Despite the troika’s demand for payment to continue through electricity bills, the draft law will provide for payment at tax offices.