Greece to submit 2014 budget without rubber stamp from troika

Another round of talks between the troika and Greek government officials in Athens on Wednesday failed to yield any results and, as a result, Greece is due to submit its 2014 budget to Parliament on Thursday without the final approval of its lenders.

Sources told Kathimerini that the budget will include a range of measures aimed at producing well over 1 billion euros in extra savings next year. Some 600 million euros will be saved by tidying up the social security system. Another 350 million euros in extra revenues is projected from improvements to tax administration. An improvement in the performance of the Greek economy, which is forecast to grow marginally next year, is due to bring in extra tax revenues of about 100 million euros. The shutting down of some public bodies will also produce savings, the government believes.

The fact that the troika did not sign off on the 2014 budget means that a supplementary one may have to be submitted to Parliament early next year.

Sources said that Wednesday’s talks with the troika were not so much focused on next year’s projected fiscal gap but more on how the two sides can reach an agreement in time for the December 9 Eurogroup.

Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras is due to attend another meeting of the eurozone finance ministers in Brussels on Thursday but Greece will not feature on the agenda. The troika is scheduled to return to Athens at the beginning of December to continue its review.

On Friday, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will hold talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin but her spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said Wednesday that the two leaders would not be discussing the details of Greece’s adjustment program. “This is not a meeting for negotiations,” he said. “This is not a bilateral matter for national governments.”

Seibert, however, insisted that Berlin still believes that Greece is on the “right path” and that the “first signs of success are visible”. “We have a lot of respect for the reforms and difficulties that have to be overcome in Greece, as well as the harshness many people have to go through during this process.”

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