ECONOMY

Date for troika return to Athens still not fixed, say sources

Finance Ministry sources told Kathimerini on Monday that troika representatives are due to return to Athens at the end of the week but Greece’s lenders were not able to confirm this.

European Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici indicated at last week’s Eurogroup that the troika would be back in Athens this week but officials told Kathimerini that no date has been fixed for their return. They added that there needs to be a further exchange of information between the two sides before inspectors fly back to Athens.

The latest stumbling block between the two sides is a new law increasing the number of installments in which taxpayers can pay off their debts to the state. the troika has written to the government to ask for the measures to be withdrawn as they did not have the prior approval of the country’s lenders before being submitted to Parliament. The law, which allows taxpayers up to 100 installments in which to pay off their dues, was passed by MPs last month.

The troika believes that the measure will increase Greece’s fiscal gap for 2015 by another 1 billion euros to around 2.5 billion in total.

Greece, however, rejects the idea that the shortfall next year will be this big and insists that a 2.9 percent primary surplus will be enough. Nevertheless, the government is preparing a package of savings from administrative changes. It is estimated that this could help save 500 million to 1 billion euros.

Given that a number of other issues also remain to be resolved, the government is under great pressure if it is to meet its target of concluding the review by the December 8 Eurogroup.