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ATHENS – With international creditor deadlines missed and illusory, Greece’s coalition government is giving the lenders contradictory signals about what reforms will be pursued amid political infighting.

The troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) ignored its own line in the sand to give Greece more time to prepare a reforms list that must be accomplished before the release of a delayed 7.2-billion euro installment.

Greece, which got a four-month bailout extension on Feb. 20 and has done almost nothing since then, used the new break to send the list – and now ministers in the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA party of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras are bickering over it and undercutting him at the same time.

While Tsipras and some of his advisors are saying one thing to the troika, a number of his ministers and officials are disputing that to say something else.

Technical teams from the troika were in Athens to look over the books again while Eurozone finance ministry officials were also set to talk about the Greek proposals but some are scratching their heads over exactly what’s on the table.

Tsipiras was elected on Jan. 25 on a promise to not negotiate with the troika, end austerity and halt privatizations but has largely backed away from all of that – but now some in his Cabinet are disagreeing with him, openly, without any action from him.

The Eurozone is trying to determine if any progress has been made in the deal and hopes to conclude its review by April 24, which could lead to Greece getting at least some of the delayed aid while the government said it’s about to go broke otherwise.

Tsipras claimed the the talks are “developing and maturing,” but statements by many of Tsipras’s ministers, and legislative initiatives contradict him.

Labor Minister Panos Skourletis said the that IMF might not get a 450 million euro payment on April 9, several days after Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis told the agency director Christine Lagarde in Washington that it would.

Varoufakis, who had receded from the limelight after his combative stance irritated EU officials, is now talking again, calling them The Brussels Group – even though the IMF is in Washington, D.C. – after he called them The Institutions because he said he wouldn’t call them the Troika.

While Tsipras said he would institute the reforms the troika wanted he has backed away from that after backing away from his own pledges earlier and now said that he will go ahead and rehire hundreds of fired workers from the defunct national broadcaster ERT even though a replacement station in on the air – staffed by fired workers from ERT.

Government spokesman Gavriil Sakellaridis also said there would be no Value Added Tax hikes on Aegean islands, a day after he said they were being negotiated.

All that has left EU officials puzzled over who’s in charge in Greece. “It’s up to Greece to make a move,” a European Commission official said.

The post Who’s in Charge Here? Greece Gives Troika Mixed Messages Again appeared first on The National Herald.

Source: The National Herald
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