Finance Minister to continue talks with Troika in Washington

The Greek government’s talks with the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) troika will continue over the weekend in Washington, where the two sides will now extend their discussion not only to the years 2011-12 but for the entire duration of the Medium Term Framework. A second teleconference between the troika and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos was concluded late Tuesday after 2 1/2 hours and the Finance Ministry announced that "satisfactory progress was made".
Moreover, it was made known that the talks will be resumed in Washington, where government vice president and Finance Minister Venizelos will attend the annual IMF conference.
The Troika heads will arrive in Athens early next week, which indicates that an agreement for the fiscal measures may have been reached, while the troika technical teams are still in Greece. Thus, completion of the troika assessment of the Greek economy remains and the troika's recommendation to the EC, ECB and IMF for approval of the disbursement of the 8 billion euros 6th tranche of the EU-IMF 110 billion euros bailout loan.
According to sources, the troika demands that 1/3 of the measures for 2011 should concern increasing revenues and the remaining 2/3 should concern containing expenditures.
The measures for revenues include a new reduction of the tax-free ceiling and an immediate equalisation of the tax on heating and vehicle fuel, whereas measures concerning expenditures foresee acceleration of the implementation of the uniform payroll in the public sector (with cutbacks in salaries), the extension of the reserve labour measure to the core public sector, the closure of state organisations and a massive reduction of bonuses and benefits.

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