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Troika Blocks Talks After 4-Hour Teleconference

The four-hour teleconference between the troika of international creditors and the Greek government concluded at 3 a.m. with no results to show. No date was set for the final review either as the three representatives refuse to come to Athens unless Greece implements the reforms required.
The teleconference was scheduled for 8 p.m. Thursday but it started with a three-hour delay. Greece was represented by Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis, Deputy Finance Minister Giorgos Mavraganis, Substitute Finance Minister Christos Staikouras and Premier Antonis Samaras’ advisors Stavros Papastavrou and Chrysanthos Lazaridis.
According to a finance ministry official, Greece ‘s creditors insist that there is a 2.6-3.6 billion euros fiscal gap in the 2015 budget and this is the most important hurdle in the negotiations. The official says that there is no fiscal gap and that budget figures are calculated correctly. He also said that all issues were discussed and the troika agreed on many.
However, the finance ministry official stated that the creditors’ representatives did not set the date for the final evaluation in Athens because they did not agree on several issues. The troika rejected a number of proposals the Greek government made. He also said that there were no talks about extending the current bailout program because the completion of the evaluation is today’s priority.
The government’s plan to have the evaluation completed before December 8 — the date of the next Eurogroup — seems infeasible at the moment. The coalition will have to table the 2015 budget in parliament today without having the troika’s approval on key issues, such as the fiscal gap and the 100 installments for repayment of outstanding debts to the state.

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