NEWS

Samaras meets with troika officials ahead of Eurogroup summit on Thursday

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras was scheduled to hold talks with troika officials at 6 p.m. on Tuesday in a bid to settle a number of outstanding issues ahead of a Eurogroup meeting of European Union finance ministers in Luxembourg on Thursday.

Representatives of the Greece’s foreign lenders were expected to raise the issue of delays in the administration’s ambitious privatization program which recently suffered a severe setback after Russian giant Gazprom failed to bid for DEPA, the state-controlled natural gas supplier.

EU/IMF officials and the state privatization fund (TAIPED) on Monday agreed that Greece will not be able to make the 2.6-billion-euro target for revenues from privatizations this year, but stopped short of revising it.

According to reports Tuesday, the country’s lenders were also considering a Greek request for a trial-basis VAT reduction in restaurant and catering services to test the impact of such a scheme on revenues.

The issue was reportedly discussed between troika officials and Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras earlier on Tuesday. The two sides also discussed the failure of EOPPY, Greece’s main healthcare provider, to achieve the targets it has been set, as well as recent developments regarding the fate of ERT state broadcaster.

State TV signals remained blank across the country on Tuesday, a day after a Greek court ruled that shuttered state broadcaster must reopen immediately. The decision was seen as offering the squabbling ruling coalition a way out of a political crisis over the station’s abrupt closure that prompted among others speculation of a snap election in the debt-wracked country.