Greece, Troika Talks Break Down, Loan Put Off

Troika_Samaras1Envoys from Greece’s international lenders will leave Athens on March 14 after talks with the government failed to reach agreement on their demands for public sector layoffs and structural reforms.

Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras insisted that there was progress and only “technical issues needed to be resolved and that a 2.8 billion loan installment due this month wouldn’t be delayed.

But at the same time he said officials from the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) won’t return until later this month or in April, which means the loan won’t be forthcoming on time.

Talks between Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Troika officials lasted only a couple of hours on March 13 before an impasse resulted. Samaras is reluctant to reduce the public workforce that is the main base of voter support for his New Democracy Conservatives and his coalition partners, the PASOK Socialists and the tiny Democratic Left.

The government also wants to give tax debtors more time to make payments and for the Value Added Tax that it raised to 23 percent on Troika orders to be cut back in certain sectors to stimulate growth. The Troika has rejected the ideas and wants an accelerated pace of layoffs of 25,000 workers this year.

Stournaras insisted that the two sides were edging toward a deal and that Greece’s next loan tranche of 2.8 billion euros was not in danger. “There has been significant progress in the talks with the Troika,” Stournaras told journalists after leaving the talks at the Maximos Mansion, in which he also took part, although he didn’t explain how that jibed with their decision to leave without an agreement. “The negotiations will continue when the Troika representatives return. There is no issue with the loan tranche,” he added.

The newspaper Kathimerini also reported that big differences remain on a number of issues, indicating that the government was downplaying the gap and trying to spin the decision by the Troika to leave. Stournaras did not reveal what’s being discussed but it was reported that they include worker layoffs, continuation of a 100 percent property tax surcharge implemented two years ago, tax cheats and employers unlawfully keeping social security contributions that they are supposed to pay into workers pension funds.

Another issue being debated by the two sides is the possibility of bank customers being given more favorable terms to repay their loans and mortgages. Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis indicated there was little progress on this issue as well. Greeks who’ve been hit with 30 percent pay cuts and big tax hikes that have slashed their income by nearly 46 percent are being pressed by banks to repay their loans in full while New Democracy and PASOK aren’t being forced to pay back some 250 million euros ($324 million) in bank loans.

“There is nothing new on the loans issue to come out of tonight’s meeting,” he said.


  1. Its time to call a spade a spade!

    We are bankrupt, and without financial support the nation will falter!

    By not implementing possibly the most significant reform of removing the cancerous growth of what is the overbloated public sector from the wound, we will never be able to economically sustain so many uneducated, incompetent, parasites in dysfunctional offices.
    Just like a person on life support, our government hangs on for every breath, until the last!

    If you haven’t got the metal to take decisive action Samaras, then either call it quits or put a referedum forward to let the people decide what they all want.

    For example, do we either want a new socio-economically reformed Greece, self-sufficient, financially productive, and still in the EU, or do we want to just exit the EU and keep the status quo of a misery driven land of overbloated incompetent corrupt public officials who will sign with one hand and expect a fakelaki with the other!

  2. Samaras and Stounaras and the Coalition are pathetic as usual. It’s tome to face up to the facts that ND & PASOK have destroyed Greece at every turn ad should be run out of office and and most of them held accountable for Crimes against the State and Greek People.

  3. Loans must be off till changes take place…The Greek government has no intentions to change from fears of losing power at the same time did not ease the burden of the austerity measures on effected people…The Greek government is playing the cat and mouse game…This game won’t last long, changes must happen and soon and not next year…

  4. ^^^^THEY MUST GO and the TROKIA MUST GO!^^^^^^^  

    I don’t know what TROKIA means but do because anybody can see that you are a brilliant man with an internet PhD, 
    BTW, you will agree with me that we should kidnap the Troika and hold them until they agree to pay the ransom, strike that, I meant loan. 

  5. You are wrong. We have a God given right to those loans and all my hard working buddies  at the kafenio agree with me. 

    I can’t wait until Syriza wins and we finally get high paying jobs, free health care, liberal time off, 24 hour week and 3 month vacations. AND best of all, we can hire cheap,  1.3 million newly created shoeless citizens to show up at our desks and pretend to work.


  6. YOU ARE A TRAITOR to Greeks. 

    Everybody knows that hard working people die younger. Are you aware of the grievous  mortality rate of public office worker? Two thousand a day get seriously injured by pushing paper and at least a dozen a day expire from excessive perspiration.    

  7. time to default and start fresh.  what a disaster the eu experiment has been for greece from the beginning.  see iceland 

  8. Right, but not only for Greece, this experiment has been a catastrophe for most EU countries like France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Ireland, … And a currency like the € which is basically the German Mark, is too strong even for a country like France which won’t be able to pay its debt.
    Defaulting and going back to national currency would be a good start.

  9. Iceland is no Greece…Italy is no Greece…France is no Greece…Spain is no Greece…The crisis in Greece caused by  more than 30 years of massive corruption, mismanagement and looting the country’s wealth by our corrupt politicians and their parasites…Greece needs new blood of lawmakers to lead the country to a better future…Present politicians are not working hard to change the present situation…They are not doing nothing at all to save the country and its people…The country has sunk and they are on top enjoying the best of everything while people are suffering and some are dying from lack of medications and the declining of health service to the poor…Children are going hungry to their schools and the government is doing nothing…The problem is far greater than it’s present status and if nothing will be done and soon, The Greeks will rise against the government and its politicians…Greeks must wake-up otherwise the country is doomed…


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