Greece hopes to convince troika to delay decision on new cuts for 2015-16

The government is going to attempt to convince the troika not to demand that Athens details 4.1 billion euros of new fiscal measures for 2015 and 2016 when officials from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund visit Greece for the next review of the country’s adjustment program in September.

Kathimerini understands that Finance Ministry officials have been preparing four lines of defense ahead of the troika’s visit in the next month with the hope that the government will not have to detail measures at this point, which it believes would be politically damaging.

The government’s main argument will be that Greece’s fiscal performance this year will beat the targets agreed with the troika. Athens will also argue that more time should be allowed for improvements to Greece’s tax administration to produce results. The Finance Ministry will also suggest that a smaller-than-expected recession this year and forecast-beating growth next year will mean that fewer austerity measures will be needed.

Finally, the government will also pin its hopes on the better use of European Union structural funds and the continuation of the 95 percent co-financing option, which means that Greece will need to provide just 5 percent of the money needed for these projects.

The first troika officials are due in Athens on September 16 before senior figures from the Commission, ECB and IMF arrive in the Greek capital later in the month.

On Saturday, Germany’s Guenther Oettinger, who is the EU’s energy commissioner, said that Greece would need a third bailout, echoing comments by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble earlier in the week. “It will be a manageable sum. I personally expect the figure to be a little over 10 billion euros,” he told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper. “The program should cover the years 2014-16.”

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