2014 budget complicates the situation

Published on 9 December 2013 at 14:12

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Although the Greek Parliament has approved the 2014 budget, the troika of the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank has made is clear that debt reduction talks will not end soon because the Greeks have not made sufficient concessions, says the English-language version of Greek daily Kathimerini.

On December 7, the 2014 budget was approved by 153 votes to 142. "The budget foresees that next year Greece will have a primary surplus of 1.6 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), growth of 0.6 per cent and public debt easing to just under 175 per cent of GDP. However, it was submitted to Parliament without the approval of the troika," the paper says.

During the parliamentary debate, troika representatives announced that they would not return to Athens before January because the government has not fulfilled its commitments, the paper explains, saying that. Greece "was supposed to fulfil 135 commitments for the successful conclusion of the autumn review. We are still at 60 and progress is getting slower by the day, amid a political stalemate in Athens."

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A high-level EU official, quoted by the paper, says that "the Greek government’s apparent intention of unilaterally legislating or deciding on open issues related to the review, like foreclosures, reduced VAT in restaurants or mass dismissals, without prior consultation with the troika, is seen as a provocation."

"For the EU, Greece has always been a hole in the budget," notes for its part German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The paper is sceptical of the Greek budget, adding

The Greek coalition government has won a minor victory. [...] But there is no reason to support Prime Minister [Antonis] Samaras when he speaks of 'an historic day' for Greece. Certainly Athens has, for the first time in years, presented a budget with a primary surplus, that is a budget surplus that does not take into account the (huge) weight of the public debt. [...] But, in the end, this surplus is the result of computing tricks such as delaying the payment by the State of suppliers' bills to the tune of several billion euros. In the meantime, significant structural reforms are put to one side.

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