It may have come a few days too late, but Alexis Tsipras, the Greek prime minister, appears to have conceded on a whole raft of outstanding differences between his government and its international bailout creditors.
According to a letter sent late Tuesday night to the heads of the country’s trio of bailout monitors, which we got our hands on and have posted here, Tsipras concedes to most of the economic reform proposals published by the European Commission on Sunday, with a few significant exceptions that could still trip up any deal.
On one of the most contentious issues, overhauling the country’s value-added tax system, Tsipras still wants a special exemption for Greek islands, some of which are in remote areas and have difficulty accessing basic daily needs.
Keeping the islands’ exemption in place has been one of the main demands of Tsipras’ junior coalition partners, the right-wing Independent Greeks party. But creditors, whose main goal is simplifying one of the EU’s most exemption-ridden VAT schemes, have balked, saying it requires an entirely separate administration to keep the islands on a different, reduced rate.
On the toughest of all issues between the two sides, pension reform, Tsipras is demanding even more concessions, which come after the creditors have already moved quite a bit in Athens’ direction. Read more