Greek cabinet ministers return to Athens this week following a short summer break in order to prepare for talks with troika auditors in Paris coming up in September. The members of the cabinet directly involved in achieving goals set in the memorandum with the troika will travel with finance minister Gikas Hardouvelis to Paris on September 3-5.
By that point, they will have had to have implemented previously agreed reforms in order for Athens to push for the launch of negotiations on debt relief, as the Greek prime minister Antonis Samaras has planned.
Corrections to the thorny issue of property tax, due to be imposed this year, are to be submitted to parliament on August 26, while the overhaul of civil servants’ salaries and pension reform will also be introduced. With these issues settled and voted for, the prime minister is expected to discuss a series of tax breaks that he plans to introduce with troika officials.
Samaras will then head to Brussels for crunch-talks with newly-elected European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker on August 30, with tax changes and the future of Greece’s relations with the troika expected to be thoroughly discussed. Switching to a ‘reform-for-debt-relief’ scheme with lighter supervision is reportedly among options being up for discussion.
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(Greek prime minister Samaras photo by EC audiovisual service)