Greece sees solution to 2014 financing gap in December

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Greece expects that a solution to resolve its 2014 financing gap will be reached in December by international creditors, Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said on Wednesday after talks with visiting Euro Working Group chief Thomas Wieser in Athens.

Wiesel held a series of meetings with Greece's government to discuss the terms for the disbursement of the next bailout tranche to the country, the 2014 fiscal gap and the viability of the Greek debt load.

No statements were made to the press following talks with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. However, finance ministry officials said that the four prior actions Greece needs to fulfill before the release of the next 1 billion euro (1.35 billion U.S. dollars) installment in November will be examined during a teleconference later this week ahead of troika auditors' return to Athens in coming days.

The thorniest issue on the agenda currently seems to be the restructuring of the country's defense industry so that Athens receives the tranche pending since July.

In regards to the next steps, Greece expects that a decision on the ways to cover the 2014 funding gap (which is estimated at more than 3 billion euros) will be taken by the end of 2013, while a decision on a possible further debt relief is expected next spring, once Greece posts a budget primary surplus for 2013 and as the current bailout program will end.

According to Greek media reports, the government is under pressure by European Union and International Monetary Fund lenders to implement supplementary measures to make up for the shortfall.

Athens resists the prospect of new "horizontal" across the board policies which would add more burden on the middle class and poor masses already suffering from three years of harsh austerity and six years of recession.

Greece's umbrella union for private sector workers GSEE announced on Wednesday a new 24-hour general strike on November 6 in protest of the salary cuts and tax hikes imposed so far under the austerity and reform plan to exit the debt crisis. (1 euro= 1.35 U.S dollars) Endi

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