News Column

Greece Kicks Off New International Talks On Economy

September 2, 2014

Athens (Alliance News) - Greek government ministers launched a new round of meetings with EU and IMF creditors in Paris on Tuesday, but played down hopes that they will gain significant tax cuts for the austerity-weary Greek population.

Ahead of the talks, the Greek delegation, led by Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis, said expectations had risen too high and that the talks in Paris would focus on "technical" matters.

The minister dismissed reports that Athens would ask the creditors to lower certain taxes, such as a tax on heating fuel.

Greece is keen to capitalize on a series of positive economic indicators which suggest the country is set to emerge from a deep recession later this year. It reported a primary surplus last year, and in April carried out its first medium-term bond sale since the start of the long-running economic crisis.

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras also hopes creditors will reward his country's recent reform efforts with a promise to reduce payments on its debt.

Europe's statistics agency Eurostat has estimated that Greece's debt in 2013 exceeded 318 billion euros (417 billion dollars) or 175.1% of economic output, up from 304 billion in 2012.

Greek officials hope this week's talks will result in the release of the next 3.5-billion-euro tranche of aid prior to the outcome of European Central Bank "stress tests" in banks, which are due in the autumn.

Greece has been granted more than 240 billion euros in bailout loans by the EU/IMF since 2010.

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Source: Alliance News

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