NEWS

Talks with troika resume on January 16

January 16 will see the restart of negotiations between the Greek government and the representatives of the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund, known as the troika, regarding the new loan contract, while around the same time the talks about the private sector involvement plan (PSI+) should reach their conclusion, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos told cabinet members this week.

He presented the timetable of the two parallel procedures that affect each other, as he said. Their outcome will commit the country at least up to 2015, while there will be no margin for renegotiation once the agreements are signed and ratified by the Parliament.

The new week will be devoted to the preparation for negotiations with the troika. A key point will be the voting of the Finance Ministry?s bill that concerns the opening up of closed-shop professions, the settlement of outstanding debts, the use of objective tax criteria for determining the income of the self-employed etc.

The bill will be tabled in Parliament on Tuesday. It will follow the process provided for the ultra-urgent draft laws and will be ready for voting by the plenary on Thursday.

Venizelos also asked for meetings between his ministry and the ministries with a significant role in talks with the troika, i.e. the ministries of Labor, Administrative Reform, Development, Infrastructures and Health.

Meanwhile, European Commission spokesman Olivier Bailly has made it clear in Brussels that the 5 billion euros tranche of the first bailout package that was originally scheduled to come to Athens in December, will now come in March.

A further 10 billion Athens was about to receive in March is now set for June. «That cannot be changed,» Bailly said, referring to the three-month rhythm in paying out tranches of the program.