ATHENS – Rebuffed at every turn by international lenders, Greece’s wobbly coalition government is redrafting a rejected list of reforms in hopes of getting more aid while still insisting it will not impose the conditions required to get the money.
Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras has his negotiating team rewriting a 47-page proposal sent last week to the troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) which set it aside as unacceptable.
Tsipras said he will not renege on campaign pledges to reverse austerity measures implemented by previous governments on the troika’s orders and insists that only his ideas to salvage the sinking economy would work.
The troika is holding back a 7.2-billion euro ($8 billion) installment, which is among the last of 240 billion euros ($267 billion) in two rescue packages that began in 2010. The money won’t be released until the troika’s satisfied with the reforms being reworked.
Kathimerini said the government is focusing on adjusting fiscal targets but without changing its proposal for a three-tiered Value Added Tax (VAT) scheme of 6, 11 and 23 percent instead of just 11 and 23 percent as the troika wants even though a study has found VAT hikes always fail to bring in more money.
Greece also reportedly would go along with raising its primary surplus goal from 0.6 percent this year and 1.5 percent next year, while the troika wants targets of 1 and 2 percent for those periods.
The government also is said to be ready to end early retirements but not go along with more pension cuts with the beneficiaries losing 30 percent and more already.
Without continued assistance, Greece is facing an economic catastrophe if it defaults on its loans, including likely being forced out of the Eurozone and unable to borrow from markets because of prohibitively high interest rates.