Bid to show further cuts not needed

Government officials have presented troika auditors with measures which they say could raise 2.2 billion euros without any further reductions to salaries and pensions, Kathimerini understands.

It remains unclear what the foreign envoys will make of the proposal as the measures outlined foresee a more efficient crackdown on tax evasion, which Greece has struggled with for years, and a tightening of an unwieldy social security system.

According to sources, the government is keeping to its argument that no more than 700 million euros’ worth of additional measures will be needed next year. However, as the troika’s estimate of Greece’s fiscal gap is above 2 billion euros, officials are keen to show that Greece can raise that revenue without resorting to further cuts to salaries and pensions, a move that could shake the government.

Troika envoys are to meet with Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras on Sunday when they are expected to offer their assessment of fiscal data given to them by the government.

Meanwhile another politically contentious issue – the overhaul of Greece’s civil service – was the focus of talks between Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the troika Friday.

According to sources, Mitsotakis asked the envoys for an extension on the induction of a second round of 12,500 civil servants into a mobility scheme. He is also said to have asked for staff who lose their jobs as part of a restructuring of Hellenic Defense Systems (EAS) to be counted off from the 4,000 layoffs the government must make by the end of the year. Mitsotakis, who described Friday’s meeting with the troika as “good and productive,” is to meet with them again on Monday.

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