Greek authorities and the institutions are currently still discussing the timing and implementation of agreed pension-system reforms, a government source revealed on Thursday, while denying that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has asked for the reforms to be brought forward to 2018.
According to the source, the IMF was pushing for the cuts to the ‘personal difference’ in pensions to take place in 2019, in one single installment, whereas the government wants to break them up into two installments, one in 2019 and one in 2020. The same official revealed, however, that supplementary pensions were back on the table in the negotiations, as a way of making the cuts to main pensions less painful.
Asked if the IMF will withdraw tough positions demanding an increase in the maximum limit for mass dismissals and a return of lockouts, the source said that labour issues were “always open until the entire agreement was concluded.”
The Greek mission, which will include Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos and Alternate Finance Minister George Chouliarakis, is to depart from Athens for Malta at 18:30 on Thursday, in order to participate in Friday’s Eurogroup in Valletta.
The government official expressed optimism about the talks in Valletta, saying: “I think we will reach a conclusion tomorrow.” Asked if there might be contacts with the institutions in Malta, the same official said it made sense that there should be some meeting before the Eurogroup, while Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem may have something to relay to the parties involved after his meeting with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble.