ECONOMY

Troika, gov’t talks to focus on lagging privatization drive

Greece’s lagging progress in the privatization of state assets was expected to be the focus of talks on Friday between officials of the privatization agency TAIPED and troika mission chiefs with the foreign envoys said to be pressing for selloffs worth 10 billion euros by the end of 2016.

According to sources, the target of 1.5 billion euros for 2014 is considered very difficult to achieve due to a series of postponements to tenders and competitions.

At 2 p.m. troika envoys are scheduled to meet with Energy Minister Yiannis Maniatis with further talks with Labor Minister Yiannis Vroutsis due at 6 p.m. An initial meeting between the troika and Vroutsis on Thursday allowed each side to present their views on proposed changes to the pension system and on labor reforms.

On Saturday morning, at 9 a.m., foreign auditors are to meet with Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis in a bid to reach a consensus on the draft budget for next year which is to be presented in Parliament on Monday. According to sources, the Greek side predicts that the primary surplus for 2015 will be close to 2.8 or 2.9 percent of gross domestic product, close to the 3 percent target.