New legislation allowing taxpayers up to 100 monthly installments to pay off their debts to the state will not be withdrawn, the Finance Ministry said on Saturday after reports that the troika has objected to the law, estimating that it will add 1 billion euros to Greece’s fiscal gap.
“The discussion with the troika is ongoing and covers a wide range of issues,” the Finance Ministry said in response to the reports, adding that the legislation passed last month would be implemented.
However, the apparent clash over this issue is an indication that the troika is going to drive a hard bargain over the completion of the current program review, which the government needs to achieve before the eurozone will the discuss the details of how Greece can exit the bailout at the end of the year.
Sources in Brussels told Kathimerini that the country’s lenders are not willing to make concessions on key reforms, including pensions and labor laws, to help wrap up the review. The troika’s stance appears to be that the review has to be completed properly, even if this means Greece having to extend its bailout at the end of the year rather than exiting with a precautionary credit line.
Eurozone officials are also insistent on the International Monetary Fund retaining a role in Greece after the end of the year. Kathimerini understands that Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Finland have been pushing for the IMF to be involved. “Nobody proposed doing it without the IMF,” an EU official told Kathimerini on condition of anonymity.