Creditors voicing objections ahead of talks


Finance Ministry officials’ first contacts with the country’s creditors after the summer vacation point to a difficult review process, with the lenders raising objections before the talks have even started, while European Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said a special monitoring status for Greece is possible after the expiry of the bailout process next August.

Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos admitted on Wednesday in Parliament that the creditors have objections regarding the labor bill that has been tabled in the House. Earlier, Labor and Social Security Minister Efi Achtsioglou had rejected reports that the lenders had opposed the bill at Monday’s Euro Working Group.

Greek sources close to the negotiations concede that there are indeed objections to some clauses of the bill as they are seen raising obstacles to entrepreneurship and possibly generating additional fiscal costs.

Tsakalotos said the creditors “may have certain objections – we shall see – but our view is that there is no backtracking and this is a bill that expands rights in a way that should have great support.” He added that the draft law was not discussed during his meeting with Moscovici in Brussels on Tuesday.

The minister strongly defended the bill, branding it “part of government’s strategy for exiting the crisis,” which “will take place with certain principles, certain values and certain institutions that would ensure that we will not return to the economic model existing before 2009.”

The government appears concerned about the target of the privatization revenues, according to statements by a Greek official before Tsakalotos’s meeting with Moscovici. The official referred to the target of 5.4 billion euros in takings from 2015 to end-2018, which will be hard to attain without any sensitive sell-off projects.

Moscovici also said on Wednesday, in response to an MEP’s question, that a special system of monitoring may be introduced for Greece, beyond the increased supervision, until the country repays 75 percent of the loans.