Troika perusing package

Top-ranking officials of Greece?s so-called troika of international lenders have reportedly been provided with a list of some 13.5 billion euros in proposed spending cuts and revenue-raising measures ahead of fresh negotiations next week with government officials in Athens, which are expected to be tough.

Troika envoys, who are due to return to Athens Sunday ahead of the scheduled resumption of talks on Monday, are expected to question some of the measures set out in the new package though there are hopes that a compromise reached by the three coalition leaders on the basic pillars of the pact may appease them to a certain degree.

The package — which comprises some 10.5 billion euros in cuts and 2.9 billion in new taxes — foresees 4.5 billion euros in reductions to pensions. Of the total 10.5 billion euros in cuts, 7.6 billion will be implemented next year and the remainder in 2014.

The measures slated for 2013 are expected to be embodied in next year?s draft budget, which is to be unveiled on Monday.

The draft austerity package also foresees 15,000 layoffs in the civil service through the merging and abolition of state organizations and a process of evaluating public functionaries.

Initial proposals for cutbacks in the health and defense sectors and to local authority funding have been scaled back after troika officials reportedly expressed skepticism about their enforceability. For instance, municipal funding is to be reduced by 298 million euros rather than the original proposal of 736 million, while defense cutbacks are to reach 403 million euros rather than the original 504 million.

The enforceability of these austerity measures is to be discussed during talks between troika envoys who are set to meet with Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras on Monday first before talks with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and possibly also with the latter?s coalition partners, who have backed down on earlier objections to more onerous aspects of the package.

Once the measures get the green light from the troika they must be voted through Parliament, but this appears unlikely to happen before the next scheduled Eurogroup summit on October 8.

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