A round of talks between the Greek government and troika experts is entering its final stage next week, with final decisions expected to be reached over taxation and spending of a new budget.
A determining factor for these decisions will be the revised figures for the country’s budget deficit for 2009, to be published by Eurostat on Monday. The same day, the head of the troika group of experts will arrive in Athens for a regular inspection of the Greek economy ahead of approval of the third tranche of a support loan to Greece, worth 9.0 billion euros.
According to information, Eurostat will raise the country’s budget deficit above 9.0 pct of GDP, from 7.8 pct envisaged in the budget draft plan. Covering this difference will be the subject of continuous meetings between the government's economic team and the troika group early next week, based on commitments included in a memorandum signed between Greece, the IMF, the EU and the ECB.
Final decisions are expected by Wednesday, as the government is expected to table its budget plan for 2011 to Parliament on Thursday. The budget plan will envisage measures to raising tax revenues and cutting public spending. Decision will cover issues such as: raising VAT rates from 11 pct, restructuring of public sector enterprises aimed at cutting spending, implementing a single payroll system in the public sector, reducing spending by a Public Investments Program and savings in the health system.
FinMin on economy's stabilisation programme
Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou categorically denied a report by the Dow Jones news agency, that invoked anonymous government sources stating that the government will announce new measures amounting to 4.5 billion euros with the 2011 budget.
Speaking Friday to the night news bulleting of Mega TV channel, Papaconstantinou said that the economy's stabilisation programme "has not missed the target at all," as certain reports mention, stressing that fiscal adjustment will near this year the extremely large percentage of 6 percent of GDP and in absolute figures it will be greater than 14 billion euros.
The main opposition New Democracy (ND) party, as he said, had said that "in 2009 the deficit would be 10 billion euros and it was ultimately 35 billion euros, and we are reducing it to 20 billion euros. We have done more than we had committed ourselves on for the decrease of the deficit."
Asked whether there shall be cutbacks for public utility employees, the minister said that for every public enterprise there shall be a restructuring plan for it, in accordance with the conditions prevailing in each one, so that the deficits that they have totalling 1.7 billion euros will not continue.