Greece begins talks with bailout lenders over fiscal gap

Greece resumed negotiations with officials representing the country’s bailout lenders on Tuesday, in an effort to settle a dispute related to the size of its 2014 fiscal gap.

Talks between Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras and representatives of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will also focus on a series of reforms and privatizations, which are needed to secure the next aid tranche totalling 1 billion euros (1.34 billion dollars).

Athens has spent the past several months in persistent disagreement with its international creditors about the gap in its 2014 budget.

Labour Minister Yiannis Vroutsis is also scheduled to meet the envoys later on Tuesday to discuss the country’s problematic social security funds. Ballooning deficits at those have contributed to the fiscal gap.

In an interview broadcast on private broadcaster Mega, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said Greece and its citizens cannot endure further across-the-board austerity measures.

He said his conservative-led coalition would impose no new cuts on Greeks’ salaries and pensions.

The resumption of talks comes one day ahead of a planned nationwide strike by public and private sector unions, which is set to cripple air, sea and land transport.

Unions are protesting against tax increases and salary and pension cuts demanded by the foreign lenders. Critics say these have crippled the economy and caused unemployment to soar beyond 27 per cent.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 11:33:58 AM |

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