“We will soon have an agreement that will allow the completion of the first program review” before March 27, the Greek Labor Minister George Katrougalos said on Sunday to ANA-MPA, admitting, however, that the negotiation will be hard.
Katrougalos, who participated in a conference on the prospects for cooperation on employment organized in Erfurt, Germany by the Prime Minister of Thuringia, Bodo Ramelow (Die Linke/the Left Party), in collaboration with the president of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs of the European Parliament Thomas Handel (Die Linke), he stressed that there is great interest from both sides in transferring know-how from Germany, particularly in regards to educational and technical training programs.
Asked about the negotiations with the creditors on pension reforms, he said that the technical staff is expected to arrive soon in Athens and added that progress has been made. “The negotiation is harsh,” he admitted but there is agreement – at least with the Europeans – on the basic issues. And the IMF, he added, has not raised questions in regards to the structural elements of the reform.
Katrougalos reiterated the European Commission’s estimates that the first program review will have been completed by March 27 and the Catholic Easter and therefore the law will pass in Parliament. “Once the partners return, I believe that we are close to a deal. The bill will be immediately submitted to Parliament,” he added.
The minister also expressed optimism over the outcome of the meeting between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the representatives of farmers on Monday.