Troika Runs Into Greek Brick Wall



The Troika keeps squeezing Greece on reforms

Tough talks between Greece and its international lenders slugged on as the two sides on Nov. 19 remained far apart on key issues including how to close a looming budget gap – and how big it is – putting a damper on Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras’ always-optimistic predictions they were close to a deal.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras must submit the 2014 budget to Parliament on Nov. 21 and wants an agreement with the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) before then so that they will release a pending one billion euro ($1.37 billion) installment.

The schism though is critical because unless they can come to terms on closing a budget hope of as much as 2.9 billion euros – Stournaras said it’s only 500 million but a compromise of 1.3 billion is on the table – Samaras likely would have to renege on his promise not to impose any more harsh austerity measures that have worsened a deep recession. Reports were that Greece was digging in its heels with Samaras fearful of more social unrest if he breaks another pledge.

Stournaras and other key cabinet members involved in the talks reportedly told the Troika envoys that any more orders for pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed pensions and worker firings would be the last straw for society and the government and may not get through Parliament where Samaras’ New Democracy Conservatives and his partner, the PASOK Socialists, have only a four-seat majority.

Samaras and the major opposition party Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras have been battling over austerity as the government’s rivals don’t want it although they haven’t offered any alternatives to continued bailouts from the Troika. SYRIZA said that coalition MP’s unhappy with the policies should “abandon the government,” drawing vehement criticism from government officials who accused him of trying to destabilize the country at a crucial moment.

Another big sticking point is a unified property tax that the government is still in the process of drafting, with the Troika estimating that the levy would bring in around 2.5 billion euros – 400 million euros less than the Greek side has calculated, Kathimerini said it was told by unnamed sources.

The Troika also is doubtful about claims from Labor and Social Insurance Minister Yiannis Vroutsis that up to 900 million euros can be raised through a more efficient crackdown on tax and social security evasion as the government has done little about that for years apart from a  few well-publicized crackdowns that haven’t yielded a single major prosecution.

It’s beginning to look like a deal won’t be in place by the time Parliament gets a budget and that Greece and the Troika won’t have an agreement until the Dec. 9 meeting of Eurozone officials although it wasn’t said how that would affect the pending 2014 budget plans.

As Greek and Troika officials wrangled over economic reforms, German Chancellor Wolfgang Schaeuble, again repeated that the prospect of a second haircut to reduce Greece’s huge debt burden was out of the question. In his comments to Germany’s Bild newspaper, however, Schaeuble said that talks on a third, “much smaller” rescue package could be held if the country “meets its obligations.”

On his way out from the late evening meeting with the Premier,  Stournaras explained that the changes brought to the real estate tax will burden the fiscal gap, but he was optimistic that it can be covered without resorting to wage and pension cuts. Stournaras also maintained that the unified payroll will be implemented and that there is no cash flow problem.


18 COMMENTS

  1. NO TediUSA here ‘WHAT’! Paid the electricity bill this month TediUSA? Forgot your username and password to Greek reporter? Husbands found out about your guilty pleasures on here? Obama called to say you been a naughty girl? Realised freedom of speech is not hate speech?

  2. The Greex will be MADE to take out from their homes and hidden bank accounts the stolen EU money,and hand them back over-one way or another.Yasou!

  3. Ah,Greece dangling again the scarecrow SYRIZA and threatening with government collapse in a blatant attempt to extort more free billions from their creditors.The Greeks are Oh So Dumb because they are in no position to extort anyone,they are the once begging the World for money ,not the opposite.The Greeks will be made to pay through their noses every cent they stole in the next 25+ years……and rightly so.That’s exactly the purpose of the Greek bailouts ,but the Greeks are stupid because they can think they can threaten with an euro Exit.Germany doesn’t want you to exit,silly,they want you to pay back the money you swindled from us!

  4. Why don’t you learn some proper English before posting online?I could not understand anything .Thanks for the time and the input ,but if you have noticed,the subject topic is on Greece ,not on me! Have a Nice Day now.

  5. It’s free speech isn’t it? I can say what I like here, after all you do? Don’t lecture me on English, ‘proper English’ lol you don’t know English you only know ‘American English’ which by English standards is not English! So if you cant understand me typing English I would highly suggest learning ‘proper English’.

  6. shocking bad ‘proper English’! Why don’t you learn some proper English before posting online?I could not understand anything .

  7. I didn’t know they had Internet access at the Greek Inpatient mental facilities ,but hey,Greece enjoys a lots of perks with our money,so possible.LOL

  8. You’re the Grumpy Old Troll who lives under the bridge
    Hey, You’re the Grumpy Old Troll who lives under the bridge
    Who’s there?
    If you want to come over, all you have to do is this
    All you have to do is this

    song for you TediUSA

  9. I’m the Grumpy Old Troll who lives under the bridge
    Hey, I’m the Grumpy Old Troll who lives under the bridge
    Who’s there?
    If you want to come over, all you have to do is this
    All you have to do is this

  10. You’re the Grumpy Old Troll who lives under the bridge
    Hey, You’re the Grumpy Old Troll who lives under the bridge
    Who’s there?
    If you want to come over, all you have to do is this
    All you have to do is this

  11. You don’t like my opinions on the Greek situation?Oh,that’s really bad,because I will keep posting them,sorry.

  12. TediUSA obsessive hate speech towards Greeks indicates a purely nationalist motivation. (Given so many Skopians troll this website using alternate ids, and that he claims ridiculous things like Greeks are “Egyptian gypsies” and “ethiopians” my guess a Slav)

  13. Most of your “opinions” are outright lies (e.g. your ridiculous claim greeks are “Egyption gypsies”) You are obviously an extreme nationalist who is just here just to demonize Greeks would prefer to ethnically erase us.

    During WW people you made fine Nazis. Why don’t you find a neo-nazi website to ramble on? You do realize you are you country’s version of Golden Dawn.right?

  14. Who is “us”? You certainly aren’t German. Why don’t you tell everyone where you ethnic roots are from coward? Afraid they will know your real motives are extreme nationalism not ethics?