Troika takes a ‘pause’ amid coalition concerns

As Greece’s coalition leaders struggled to solve a dispute over the closure of state broadcaster ERT on Wednesday, troika envoys said they were leaving Athens for a “pause,” noting that “important progress” had been made in talks while a senior eurozone official expressed concern about the repercussions of Greek political upheavals on the reform program.

The statement, issued jointly by the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund, did not provide details of the progress achieved – nor of the challenges that remain. It said however that, “to allow completion of technical work, policy discussions will pause, but are expected to resume by the end of the month.”

The statement made no reference to the political tensions in Greece which are believed to have influenced the troika envoys’ decision to take a break, along with the demand that government officials come up with proposals to plug a projected funding gap for 2013 and 2014 of 2.1 billion euros.

Speaking to reporters in Brussels on condition of anonymity, a senior eurozone official emphasized the importance of political stability being maintained if Greece’s economic reform program is to remain on track and rescue loans to keep flowing.

As eurozone finance ministers meet in Luxembourg on Thursday, Greece’s Yannis Stournaras is expected to face questions from his peers regarding the political situation in Athens. Stournaras was involved in the first round of crisis talks between the coalition partners on the ERT debacle on Monday.