Banks, fiscal issues the focus of talks with institution missions in Athens

Banks, fiscal issues the focus of talks with institution missions in Athens

Greek government officials met with the visiting heads of institutions' missions in Athens over the 4th post-programme enhanced surveillance review on Tuesday and discussed the government budget for 2020.
The institution representatives, in Athens since Monday, are wrapping up their meetings on Wednesday. Their report is expected to be presented at the December 4 Eurogroup.
According to a Greek economic team member following the meetings, the prime minister's measures presented at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) this month - worth a total of 1 billion euros - will all be included in the new budget.
The meetings on Tuesday focused on quantification of fiscal performance for issues such as the 120-installments repayment plan for loans, and VAT revenues, the TIF proposals and backup measures to increase revenues in case of a fiscal gap. The source ruled out tax increases or a slash of state expenditures, but said the backup measures would be structural in nature, e.g. promoting digital transactions.
Both sides, the source said, agreed that the target of a 3.5 pct primary surplus for 2019 is guaranteed.
Among issues discussed with the institutions were guarantees banks have in their portfolios, payoff of state debts to the private sector, the clawback in the health sector, labor regulations included in the recent development plan, and other initiatives to be carried out by the end of the year.
On Wednesday topics will include the energy sectors, the public sector, privatizations, digital policy and a review of the three days of meetings.
At the same time, an IMF mission in Athens will complete its work on Friday for a report based on Article 4 of the organization's charter.

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