Greece’s Finance Minister, Gikas Hardouvelis, sent a letter to the representatives of the country’s international lenders yesterday, explaining the positions on key issues that the Greek government is about to follow during the upcoming negotiations.
The letter was in regards to the latest figures of the current budget’s implementation (a primary surplus for the second year in a row), as well as the structural changes that have been or will be applied. According to Hardouvelis, the Greek government foresees that there will be no fiscal gap in the coming year and that changes in social security funds, mass layoffs and the issue of low VAT rates are not necessary.
According to Greek media, the Finance Ministry desires the current evaluation to be concluded as soon as possible, before the critical Eurogroup of December 8, and after that proceed with an agreement over the country’s steps on the next day after the memorandum, with a European Stability Mechanism (ESM) preventive credit line.
Yesterday, though, International Monetary Fund (IMF) deputy spokesman William Murray, while answering journalists’ questions, revealed that the date for the Troika’s return to Athens is not yet finalized. Exiting a conference at the IMF headquarters in Washington, Murray said that he does not have a return date at the moment, adding that “at this point, we are discussing with Greek authorities what we need for the mission to return to Athens. This will determine the timetable. Preparatory work was already done when the IMF’s mission visited Athens in early October and discussed issues in the framework of the sixth assessment of the Greek program and we are now focusing on the successful completion of the assessment.”
Furthermore, Murray avoided to make any comment over the rumored “new relation” between Greece and the Fund after the country exits its EU/IMF bailout program, underlining that the Greek side has not yet filed any request to the IMF on the matter. “Any such talk is academic. We have our own program ending in March 2016,” he concluded.