Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou said that a meeting scheduled for Wednesday between the Government and the economic teams of the political parties aims at reaching convergences and not record divergences regarding government proposals ahead of negotiations with the Troika.
Stephanou, speaking here today, following a meeting at the Finance Ministry, said the possibility of not reaching a single position between the government and the parties was open, due to differences in some matters under discussion.
He said that both sides started yesterday a discussion concerning the government program which is being prepared vis-à-vis negotiations with its lenders from the European Commission, the ECB and the IMF.
Discussions concerned the banking sector and sectoral issues and according to Stephanou, a broad convergence was reached in the first issue, which is of particularly importance, as it concerns the recapitalization of Cypriot banks and relates to the viability of public debt.
He added moreover that the same convergence was also reached on sectoral issues, especially ones pertaining to the labor market, the Ministries and the economy in general.
Concerning today’s discussion on fiscal issues, which lasted for about 5 hours, the Government Spokesman said “there are issues on which we note our agreement and common understanding, as well as issues we disagree on and have different approaches”.
He added that a new meeting, scheduled for Wednesday at 13.00, aims at highlighting a possible agreement between the two sides, noting that the aim is to have a comprehensive agreement or at least be certain on the issues where there is agreement and those where there is disagreement.
There are certain confines set by the Troika, Stephanou went on, explaining that the measures under discussion must yield a specific amount, as part of the adjustment program.
“The discussion is being conducted in a specific framework” Stephanou noted, adding that each party retains of course its own assessment. He said, however, that the government will be the one negotiating with the Troika.
On the issues pending, Stephanou referred to the imminent meeting between the President of the Republic and the trade unions, before embarking on negotiations with the Troika.
Asked whether the balance was titling more towards convergences or divergences, the Government Spokesman responded that what matters is where the government and the political parties agree or disagree on and the significance of those issues in the general package.
Stephanou also said that the dialogue with the parties was being concluded with tomorrow’s meeting on a technical level.
Asked if the package under discussion will be referred to the House of Representatives, during the voting of the state budget on October 20-22, Stephanou said there is no such commitment.
He explained that the government will refer the state budget to the House, including the result of negotiations with the Troika.
Current discussions only concern the finalization of the government program, to be employed during negotiations with the Troika, Stephanou said, adding that there should not be any confusion with the state budget.
He said finally that the Finance Minister had contacts with Troika representatives during the recent meetings of the IMF and the World Bank Group in Japan, but did not negotiate with them.
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