IMF Calls for New Meeting-Troika Talks Concluded With No Agreement

IMFA meeting on the settlement of the Greek debt will take place in Washington on November 14 and 15, according to government sources. Troika representatives, the Greek side and possibly other interested parties will participate in the meeting, which is initiated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

According to Greek TV station “MEGA” and its correspondent in Washington, Michalis Ignatiou, there is going to be a special meeting between Greece and the Troika during the fall regarding the Greek debt and as the reporter said, “it will be of great importance for the future of the Greek debt.”

The level of Greece’s participation in the meeting has not been decided yet. However, there will be a preliminary meeting on the Greek debt at the IMF-World Bank Summit on October 10.

The Greek government talks with the Troika ended on Thursday, with the head of the European Commission delegation Declan Costello calling them “constructive” and “useful.”

Costello said the three days of negotiations with the Greek delegation, led by Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis, had been useful as both sides now have a better understanding of the issues discussed and those that would come up during the Troika’s review in Athens later in September.

The Greek side also considered the Paris meeting “useful” and an opportunity to discover what each side wants, as well as to address the questions raised by each side in detail, a Finance Ministry source said.

The same source added that the Greek delegation had examined “absolutely all the issues, some of which were easier and clearer and others less so,” while the Troika representatives had raised issues of their own.

Among the issues discussed were tax exemptions and tax relief, labor issues, foreclosure auctions, non-performing loans, the newly introduced unified property tax (ENFIA) and the country’s debt.

Reliable sources said that the labor issues were considered the most “sensitive,” with the Troika having some reservations on the proposals presented by the Labor Minister until they see current reports.

Non-performing loans was another topic that dominated the talks. Resolution of the problem will be of great importance for the Greek economy as it will allow for greater business liquidity. There was extensive discussion on what actions state agencies will have to take. The Greek side clearly demonstrated the desire for a quick resolution and no further delays.

On the ENFIA property tax, Troika officials agreed that the target of raising 3.2 billion euros in revenues is feasible and that any changes made must be in accordance to this target.

Conversely, according to the same sources, there was no discussion on foreclosure auctions, nor an extensive discussion on the Greek debt, since the talks focused mainly on issues that must be resolved within September.

Members of the Greek delegation said that they could not give answers on the positions of the Troika since the Paris talks were preparatory, but conveyed their impression that the Troika officials have recognised the efforts made by the Greek side.

The Troika has so far signed off on about 50% of Greece’s commitments out of a total of 542 actions. It has not yet taken into account the work done by the Greek government over the summer, with which it greatly surpassed the 50% mark, and will be examined later in September. Therefore, the Greek side expects that the Troika will then be able to pass on the message to the Euro Working Group that Greece is meeting its obligations.