Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is rushing to Paris to meet French President Francois Hollande. As the meeting was not planned, Greek media wonder whether the urgent trip to Paris has something to do with the break in Greece-Creditors Review Talks and the Government decision to submit two bills to the Parliament next week without previous agreement with the lenders.
The bills will refer to income taxation and pensions reform, to of the most crucial issues needed to be solved to conclude the first Review of the third bailout.
The legislation plan was announced by Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos earlier on Tuesday during a press conference on the talks progress.
“There is space for changes and modifications but we do not step back from our red lines,” Tsakalotos stressed adding that “I will not submit a legislation with tax-free below €9,100.” Τhe current tax-free for employees and pensioners is €9,545, the creditors and especially the IMF want it down to €8,182.
“As a sovereign country we maintain the right to decide how [with which measures] we can reach the targets we have agreed upon,” Tsakalotos said. And he is right – even if Greek governments often blame/blamed the Troika/Quadriga for the austerity measures they have/had to take. On the other hand, the Lenders set the targets, the figures and the amounts, the government’s magicians have to find ways to reach them.
One important and unusual aspect of the government’s move was that it seems to reject the creditors proposals and defy the International Monetary Fund that has an advisory role in the talks.
However, it looks most likely, that the two legislation will not pass the parliament without previous negotiations with the creditors, as the voting is expected to take place after Tsakalotos meets with Lagarde, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem during the Spring meetings between the IMF and the World Bank, next week.
Yet, the Greek Finance Minister stressed today that Greece has “its red lines with regards to income taxation and pensions reform.”
Just a game to create pressure on lenders most likely the IMF?
PM Tsipras will meet Hollande at 7 p.m. on Wednesday and European Parliament President Martin Schulz Thursday noon. Later, he will be in Brussels to take part as a key speaker at a working dinner organized by the Axel Springer Foundation on the situation and the prospects of Greek economy.
Due to the absense of the Prime Minister, the scheduled debate in the Parliament on the establishment of the Investigation Committee to investigate loans to political parties and media. The debate will be held on Friday morning.
PS Still I cannot tell you what’s on the agenda of Tsipras & Hollande. Give a helping hand with Greece’ red lines and accept the two legislation? Provoke the IMF to say “ti’s a unilateral move”? hm… normally it’s Schaueble who says that…