ECONOMY

Troika’s talks with Greece are continuing, says European Commission

There was no indication from the European Commission on Monday as to whether the troika has accepted the proposal sent by Greece on Sunday morning with the aim of unblocking stalled negotiations.

“Following recent talks in Paris, there was some convergence and negotiations are continuing with the aim of concluding the review,” said the Commission’s chief spokesman Margaritis Schinas on Monday.

Athens is expecting a response from the troika today or tomorrow to the proposals it sent over the weekend.

The proposals sent by Athens contained a range of measures designed to overcome the two sides’ differences over the 2015 fiscal gap and structural reforms.

According to sources, the document sent by the Greek Finance Ministry includes the raising of value-added tax for hotels from 6.5 percent to 13. It is estimated this would raise some 350 million euros in revenues. The VAT rate at hotels had been cut in 2012.

Also, the government proposes that the unified pay structure in the civil service will apply to newcomers from January 1 and to existing employees from the start of 2016.

Greece is also proposing that it gradually phase out the exceptions to retirement rules, meaning that nobody would be able to retire before reaching the age of 62 from the start of 2019.

The Finance Ministry, however, insisted that it would not make any more changes to the recently passed law allowing debts to the state to be paid in up to 100 instalments. The government insists that this measure is already paying off.