There is no issue of imposing income criteria on unemployment benefits in talks with the visiting delegation representing the EC-ECB-IMF "troika", according to Athina Dretta, secretary-general of social insurance at the employment ministry. In a radio interview on Thursday, Dretta said the government was continuing talks with troika experts over the need for extra subsidies towards the Social Insurance Fund (IKA) and the Manpower Employment Management Organization (OAED).

“We are trying to convince the troika that we have the means to share this cost,” Dretta said, adding that additional subsidies could total around 1.0 billion euros.

She nevertheless admitted it was a difficult negotiation and noted that if the troika did not approve the plan, then the government would try to find this money from other sources. The ministry official noted that rising unemployment was hitting IKA’s revenues.

Troika experts are currently in Athens for talks with top officials of government ministries, within the framework of regular inspections of the Greek economy ahead of approval of the next tranche of an EU/IMF loan to Greece.
During talks held so far, troika experts expressed reservations over the ability of the labour ministry to achieve economic goals set by a Medium-term Fiscal Stabilisation Framework for the period 2012-2015.

Representatives of the troika have reportedly aired sharp objections to the extra funding, via the state coffers, towards IKA and OAED, pointing to the need for money to be derived from spending cuts elsewhere.