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Troika Delegation in Athens Today

troika_neoThe delegation of Greece ‘s international lenders, the so-called Troika, is expected to meet with Finance Minister, Gikas Hardouvelis today and with Labor Minister Yiannis Vroutsis tomorrow. Hardouvelis announced on Wednesday that the extraordinary and harsh measures taken over the last four years will be gradually abolished, as Greek economy is reverting to normal.
The Ministry is currently examining the efficiency of the applied measures in combination with the social impact they have had, in an effort to proceed to tax reductions or even the abolition of some of the measures. “We have to definitively establish a tax system that will be simple, consistent and long-lasting, gradually abolishing the extraordinary tax measures and adjusting tax burdens to the standards of the euro zone states,” said Hardouvelis, although he added that “we are continuing to apply a measured and balanced fiscal policy.”
As a basic condition to end the extraordinary measures, he set “the construction of a modern tax administration to support the tax reduction.” In this context, the government will take specific initiatives through which “we will not only correct injustices, but also secure crucial financial resources” that are necessary for “reducing the tax burden of law-abiding taxpayers” and “in the future financing some redistributive policies for the benefit of the weaker social groups.”
The pending issues in the negotiations between the Labor Ministry and the Troika include the change of the law on unions, the further cut of labor cost, the evaluation of the insurance system reform progress, and the government’s proposal for the settlement of arrears to social security funds.
European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) CEO and Managing Director of the permanent European Stability Mechanism (ESM) Klaus Regling met Greece’s new Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis, on Wednesday.
“We have invested in the future of Greece,” Regling said after concluding his meeting with Hardouvelis, adding that “in the last three years EFSF has provided more than 141 billion euros to Greece, and shoulders more than 43 percent of the Greek debt.” He referred to the EFSF “having invested in Greece,” noting that the average duration of Greek debt held by the EFSF was 32 years.
Hardouvelis stated that over 60 percent of the financial assistance EFSF has provided to European countries has been given specifically to Greece on very favorable terms, so that each Greek household benefited with annual savings of about 3,000 euros.
The head of EFSF and ESM welcomed the “significant efforts Greece has made in recent years.” While recognizing that economic reforms and fiscal adjustments have proven difficult and painful for many Greek citizens, he nevertheless urged them to also look at the positive results that have been achieved. “Greece is slowly becoming competitive again and, despite the unacceptably high unemployment rate, it is gradually improving and investors have started to return,” Regling assessed.

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