Stournaras hopeful of agreement with troika

In a message likely aimed at both a domestic audience and Greece’s lenders, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras has called for “common sense” to prevail in the government’s latest talks with the troika after it was confirmed that officials from the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund would resume their program review in Athens on Monday.

“There are solutions for all the matters, as long as there is realism, flexibility and common sense on all sides,” Stournaras told Kathimerini ahead of the troika’s return.

“We all have to be calm,” he said. “Our lenders have to pay close attention to the fact that the Greek economy is turning around, which the markets have already recognized.”

Apart from checking on when Greece will fulfill its three remaining “prior actions” to unlock another 1 billion euros in bailout funding, the troika representatives will also hold further talks with the Greek government about next year’s fiscal gap.

Greece says it will be no bigger than 500 million euros but the troika sees the figure being between 2 and 2.5 billion euros. Sources said the three key arguments that Greece will use to defend its position are that tax revenues have beaten their targets this year, that the economy will contract by less than had been forecast and that the unified wage structure will be applied strictly across the public sector, including state companies, thereby generating at least 500 million euros in savings.

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