Troika due back in Athens, with mixed agenda

As the government prepares for the return of envoys representing Greece’s troika of foreign lenders on Monday, a draft plan of the revised memorandum seen by Kathimerini indicates the potential need for new austerity measures if authorities fail to meet revenue targets and to plug a funding gap.

According to the draft document, unspecified new measures may have to be taken if authorities fail to collect adequate revenue from outstanding debts to the state and fail to plug a funding gap for this year of just over 1 billion euros, chiefly attributed to the debts of the country’s main healthcare provider, EOPYY.

One potential method of narrowing the funding gap likely to be proposed by troika officials is the payment of the emergency property tax for 2013 in four instalments rather than five. Such a move would narrow the funding gap for this year by an estimated 400 million euros, troika officials are expected to argue.

Another thorny issue expected to dominate talks is the troika’s demand for the induction of 12,500 civil servants into a so-called mobility scheme, in which the employees will receive a reduced wage for a year before a status review. Greek authorities have yet to finalize the list of 12,500 public workers and the new Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is expected to ask the troika for a two-month extension for the completion of the scheme.

The draft memorandum also foresees some relief, with recruitments in the state sector – on a strict ratio of one departure to one hiring – as well as the introduction of certain tax breaks to help draw much-needed investment.

It remained unclear on the weekend whether envoys of the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund are prepared to accept Greek requests to lower a 23 percent value added tax rate on tavernas and restaurants to 13 percent.

Ahead of fresh talks with the troika, conservative New Democracy – which now leads a coalition of two with PASOK following the departure of Democratic Left – continued with its party congress. Addressing the congress on Saturday, prominent ND cadre and former Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis called for a parliamentary inquiry to determine how the country signed its first bailout in 2010 when PASOK was in power.

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