Samaras meets Stournaras as Greece prepares for new troika visit

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras met with Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras on Thursday as the government tries to wrap up several loose ends regarding structural reforms ahead of the troika’s return to Athens, which is scheduled for April 3 or 4.

Fearing a worsening climate in the eurozone after the tense negotiations over the Cyprus bailout, Samaras held the talks with the aim of finalizing Greece’s position on sackings and transfers in the civil service, how the emergency property tax will be levied, how the burden on loan holders can be alleviated and what kind of payment plan will be offered to Greeks who owe taxes.

It is still not clear how many civil servants will lose their jobs by the end of 2014. The most recent proposal Athens made to the troika is for 5,000 public sector workers to be fired this year and next.

Samaras and Stournaras are expecting the country’s lenders to approve the disbursal of the March bailout tranche of 2.8 billion euros in the next few days.

However, the coalition is also bracing itself for troika demands to address a potential fiscal shortfall. It is thought the lenders see the gap between revenues and spending reaching 2.4 billion euros this year and next. This is of concern to the government as the most recent bailout agreement Greece signed calls for automatic adjustments to be made.

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