Govt sources: Goal of negotiations with creditors to determine ‘positive, negative’ measures

28 February 2017
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The first “unofficial leaks” circulated by the Greek government on Tuesday, the first day of renewed negotiations to conclude a delayed second review of the third bailout, pointed to a goal of determining “positive or negative measures”.
The statement, issued in the “non paper” manner, refers to austerity measures that creditors want enacted now as a “precaution” in order to guarantee that Athens achieves fiscal goals after 2018 – primarily primary budget surplus targets as a percentage of GDP.

The “negative” aspect refers to what the leftist-rightist coalition hopes will be “off-set” measures, such as a reduction on VAT rates, for every extra tax hike or pension reduction taken.

In a bid to deflect what’s expected to be shrill opposition criticism and even lukewarm support by the coalition’s own Parliament majority, the government sources on Tuesday referred to a “jobs package” worth three billion euros, which they claimed will also be on the negotiation table this week.

Additionally, the same sources appeared confident that Greek bonds will be re-included in the ECB’s QE stimulus package once the review is finally concluded.

In a diametrically opposite view on the resumption of negotiations, main opposition New Democracy (ND) spokesman and MP Vassilis Kikilias employed Sunday’s end of the carnival season to post a “Tweet” charging that “the masks have fallen: Reductions in pensions and the tax-free threshold signed by (PM Alexis) Tsipras. This was announced by (FinMin Euclid) Tsakalotos.”

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