NEWS

Troika in Athens: negotiations still ‘a long way to go,’ says FinMin official

The pressure was on in Athens on Wednesday as troika representatives – as officials from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund are collectively known – met successively with Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras, Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis and Labor Minister Yiannis Vroutsis.

Speaking to Kathimerini on Wednesday, a high-ranking Finance Minister official said negotiations had “a long way to go” as government officials met with the IMF’s Poul Thomsen, the ECB’s Klaus Masuch and the European Commission’s Matthias Mors.

Discussions centered on issues such as the demand of the country’s international creditors for layoffs in the public sector as well as the opening of closed professions, market deregulation and privatizations, among other pending issues.

The coalition government is currently in the process of identifying civil servants who have violated the code of conduct or used false documents to obtain their position, for instance. According to Kathimerini, the Ministries of Finance and Administrative Reform expect that this monitoring will enable the selection of about 7,000 to 8,000 employees who will leave the public sector by 2014.

Although a final meeting between Stournaras and the troika team has been scheduled for Sunday, the Finance Minister official said he expected talks to continue beyond that date.

The troika’s evaluation will determine the disbursement of the March tranche of the bailout package, worth 2.8 billion euros.