The long and intensive talks between Greece and its lenders did not end in conclusion of the Greek Program Review. Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos told rpeorters at 2 a.m. that “talks will resume on April 18th, after the Spring Meetings between the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
According to Finance Minister Tsakalotos, all four institutions (European Commission, IMF, ESM and ECB) and the government agreed to the break in talks, despite progress on large issues, because there are a lot of minor issues that could not be resolved in the available time in order to draft a staff level agreement that must be presented to the Eurogroup for ratification by the Finance ministers of the eurozone.
Last week, Athens was confident that the draft would have been ready by Sunday, April 10th.
According to Athens News Agency, the issues discussed on Monday included “the fiscal state, the non-performing loans and social insurance funds. Issues related to the ministries of education and justice and the new privatization fund were not discussed. Both sides discussed the option also of bundling regularly performing loans with NPLs in loans sold to funds, as well.”
The Hot Potatoes jumping between lenders and the Greek team are mainly the cuts in pensions, the tax-breaks cap, the protection of red loans. The IMF has a tough stance claiming that the “austerity measures” will bring a Primary Surplus of 1.5% in 2017 and 2018 and not 3.5% as Greece and the European Quadriga has agreed upon last summer.
The IMF has advisory role in these talks and we all know that it is notorious for its “mistakes in fiscal multipliers” – so Christine Lagarde on Monday.
Fact is the new measures Greece is expected and obliged to take amount 5.4 billion euro for the years 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Greece wants to close the chapter “Program Review” and thus before the Greek Orthodox Easter on May 1st in order to receive the bailout tranche, fulfill its obligations towards international lenders and its debts to the private sector so that “economy can take a breath.”