Greek minister says troika talks basically concluded

Negotiations on further bailout tranche wrap up, according to deputy finance minister: "I think that we have figured things out."

October 3, 2011 11:36
1 minute read.
A protest in Athens [file]

Athens protest 311 R. (photo credit: REUTERS/John Kolesidis)


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ATHENS - Greece and its EU/IMF inspectors have broadly completed negotiations about a further bailout tranche for the debt-laden country, a government minister said on Monday, indicating the basis of an agreement had been reached.

Deputy Finance Minister Pantelis Oikonomou expressed the opinion that Greece managed to convince its lenders that fiscal slippages were mainly due to a deeper-than-expected recession.

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"To the extent that they were convinced that... the recession is indeed deeper, I think that we have figured things out," deputy finance minister Pantelis Oikonomou told television station Mega.

Asked whether the negotiations with the "troika" of EU/IMF inspectors have come to a successful conclusion, Oikonomou said: "I believe we have essentially concluded... we have covered all the main topics."

The troika will have two more meetings at the country's General Accounting Office to cross-check some figures and start writing its report on Wednesday, Oikonomou said.

However, sources close to the troika had said earlier that its visit was expected to last well into this week. The inspection does not just focus on 2011 budget figures, but also on budget plans for 2012-2014 and commitments to raise 50 billion euros from privatizations by 2015.

European Union officials say the troika's assessment is not just about disbursement of the next bailout tranche, but that it could also determine whether Greece needs to demand more debt relief from private creditors, a measure that could effectively amount to default.

Greece said late on Sunday it would miss a deficit target for 2011 set just months ago in its bailout package, pledging to catch up much of the shortfall next year.

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