There were no comments on Wednesday night after Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras resumed talks with troika representatives on Greece?s new austerity package but sources told Kathimerini that the government is hoping to clinch a deal on the cuts in the next few days.
According to sources, the government hopes that the 13.5 billion in spending cuts and tax hikes will be settled this week and approved by the three coalition leaders early next week. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has made it clear that he would like all the measures, bar the details, to be agreed before he heads to the European Union leaders? summit on October 18.
Sources suggested Stournaras would try to convince the troika that the amount of measures to be implemented next year should be limited to 7.8 billion euros, rather than reach 9 billion, as Greece?s lenders have suggested. However, the finance minister also informed the troika that a strike by tax collectors had led to revenues in first nine months of the year being about 500 million euros off target.
Beyond the fiscal measures, the 89 structural reforms Greece is bound to implement this year as part of its bailout were also discussed. Sources said Stournaras outlined plans for trimonthly reviews for the heads of tax offices and to make the position of general secretary for information systems at the Finance Ministry a permanent one.
Stournaras is due to continue talks with the troika at 6.30 p.m. on Thursday.
The government is hoping the momentum provided by German Chancellor Angel Merkel?s visit to Athens on Tuesday will help it secure the release of its next tranche of bailout funding by November. Athens received another boost yesterday from two more European leaders.
After meeting in Paris, French President Francois Hollande and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said they shared ?the same concept of what needs to be done? and called for progress to be made on the the role of the European Central Bank and a banking union at the upcoming EU summit.
Both men were supportive of Greece?s continued eurozone membership.
?I am convinced that between us we will find formulas so that Greece can respect its commitments and so the others can take timely decisions that allow Greece to remain in the euro,? said Rajoy.