ATHENS Ten points of political and technical content were outlined in a non-paper of the Greek government on Friday that assessed as positive the latest negotiations with the country’s creditors and defined the direction of the work that will be carried out before next Monday’s Eurogroup.
According to the Greek government, the technical committees – the Greek government’s and its (loan) partners – that will start working immediately will each prepare two texts through which both sides will be able to immediately identify the points, up for negotiation, on which they agree or disagree.
The government underlined that the distance to an agreement is yet to be covered but serious steps have already been made.
According to the non paper, (1) the government is optimistic and absolutely satisfied with the Eurogroup and the EU Summit proceedings, noting that the efforts will continue with levelheadedness and determination. It is underlined that in just 20 days, the Greek government was able to achieve on European level what three governments were unable to do in the past 5 years.
(2) A basic conclusion reached is that the contacts the Greek government had on state leaders’ and finance ministers’ level had results, as proven in action. This is proven by the fact that the stance adopted in the EU Summit by countries the Greek prime minister had visited was supportive to the Greek government. Specifically, the leaders of France, Italy, Austria, Cyprus and Belgium adopted a positive stance. Therefore, the diplomatic contacts that preceded the summit in Brussels were not made for communication purposes and had political essence.
(3) The government’s non-paper noted that threats were made in Wednesday’s Eurogroup that negotiations would end if the continuation/extension of the memorandum was not signed by the Greek government. “We were accused by many that we opted for a rift because we refused to sign the draft joint statement,” the government said. “No later than the next morning, the Greek government’s move was proven right. Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem himself sought to have a contact with the Greek prime minister and stated that talks on technical level will be launched to find common ground with the Greek government’s positions. We haven’t signed and already talks are underway to move from the memorandum to our programme. The Eurogroup will meet on Monday while the technical teams of Greece and the EU have already started their cooperation since Friday morning by processing the positions of the two sides.”
(4) The technical teams do not negotiate or judge positions. They record the convergence points, establish/trace divergences. Therefore, in Monday’s Eurogroup two equivalent texts will be presented, one by the Greek side and one by the European Commission. Texts, through which the two sides will be able to immediately see the points on which they agree or disagree.
(5) “The troika is over as a policy supervision, monitoring and implementation model. The clock for troika has stopped ticking on January 25. You cannot turn back time,” it said.
(6) The Greek government, apparently with the agreement of its (loan) partners, will insist on issues like combating corruption and tax evasion and on public administration reform.
(7) The government believes that failed policies should be abandoned. For this reason, there are categories/actions like, labour issues, the primary surplus and privatizations that are not under negotiation. The property of the Greek state cannot be sold off. On the contrary, it can be utilized for the benefit of society, for example, for the benefit of the social insurance system.
(8) Ending the humanitarian crisis and the restart of the economy, are the priorities of the new Greek government. The achievement of surpluses much lower than 3 pct of the GDP, which is the goal for 2015, will serve this purpose.
(9) The government realizes that there are points on which there is no common ground, like for example, the health sector “reform”, the lay-offs in the public sector and the pension system, among others.
(10) “We have not covered the full distance to an agreement, but serious steps have been made,” the government’s non-paper concluded.