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Greece & Troika Talks Continue to Stall

Greece's Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras refused to reveal if the troika and Greece will complete their discussions today after holding drawn-out meetings this past weekend.

Today Stournaras stated: "I don't know if talks will conclude today", while leaving a lunchtime meeting with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

Government officials of Greece conducted 14 hours of discussion on Sunday at the Ministry of Finance, ending at 5:00 a.m., but couldn't come to an agreement on a variety of issues, which included mass dismissal regulations, primary surplus use, liberalization measures and extra civil service discharges. Eurogroup wanted an agreed agreement with Greece and the troika on the latest analysis on the adjustment program by the end of last week. The Minister of Labor Yannis Vroutsis, The Minister of Growth Kostis Hatzidakis and the Minister of Administrative Reform Kyriakos Mitsotakis were also in attendance.

A Finance Ministry official claimed to the media that the two parties' goal was to conclude their talks by the end of the day, with barely any progress on their heated issues. He stated: "We are very close on all the issues...I can't be certain that we are wrapping things up but I don't rule it out either"; the same theme that journalists have been hearing since the fall of 2013. According to To Vima, there are approximately "four or five" issues that continue to be unsettled.

Conversations continue to remain complicated by the troika's pressing demands regarding the dismissal of civil servants by 2015. Currently a plan is implemented for 15,000 public sector workers to be out of work by the end of 2014. Further dismissals requested by the troika, have been rejected from Athens. Its lenders are also demanding that Greece accept every recommended liberalization standard from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Greek authorities have been insistent at its willingness to implement about 80% of the efforts. Negotiations are expected to be completed within the next several days. What remains at large, are the issues of 2015 public sector layoffs, private sector collective redundancies, and expediting the OECD's proposals.