Greeks hope for speedy debt relief review

Greece and its international lenders resumed talks in Athens yesterday on the country’s fiscal and reform progress, rekindling Athens’ hopes that its first bailout review may be concluded before the end of April.

Greeks hope for speedy debt relief review

Prime minister Alexis Tsipras wants to conclude the review swiftly to start talks on, hoping to convince an angry public their sacrifices are paying off after six years of austerity and lure back investors.

EU and IMF inspectors discussed the agenda of the review with finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos and were scheduled to meet labour minister George Katrougkalos later to discuss pension reforms. Fiscal issues are expected to be discussed today.

The review was interrupted in early February due to differences among the institutions over the estimated size of a fiscal gap by 2018, but also disagreements with Athens on the depth of the pension reform and the management of bad loans.

Athens has pledged to cut pension spending by 1% of GDP this year and reach a primary surplus of 3.5% by 2018.

Eurozone finance ministers acknowledged this week that a debate on debt relief was coming up soon, but Greece should first implement pension and tax reforms, set up an independent revenue agency and deal with non-performing loans.

Reuters

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