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Debt inspectors return to Greece to review economy


07-06-2012 10:58 BJT

Another long and fierce battle just began for Greece.  Senior officials from the so-called troika of Greece’s creditors—the EU, ECB and the IMF—returned to Athens to review the faltering progress of the Greek economy.  This, as the new government is poised to renegotiate some of the bailout’s unpopular terms.

The chief debt inspectors returned to Athens, leaving little, if any, room for adjustments to the country’s harsh bailout deal.  But the Greek government stressed that a much deeper than projected recession and rising unemployment have made the program intolerable for Greek society.
Dimitris Sotiropoulous, Political Science Professor, Athens University, said, “The troika, I believe will be convinced that some relaxation is necessary only if the Greek government points to the fact that very quickly paced reforms may lead to a large humanitarian crisis.”
The Finance Minister Giannis Stournaras who was sworn in just one hour before meeting the inspectors, admitted that Greece has veered off from its obligations in some respects while the Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras reiterated that the government is determined to stick to its obligations and speed up the reforms agreed in exchange for 130 billion Euros in bailout funds.
Greece needs the next installment of over 31 billion Euros by the end of August in order to stay afloat. Whether it gets the money and when will depend on the inspectors’ review on the progress on fiscal adjustment and reform.
Reporter: “The technical teams of the so-called troika have set up their offices here, at the Ministry of Finance and are expected to complete their report by the end of July. This is when negotiations with the Greek government will begin.”
Chief debt inspectors will then return to Athens and depending on the report, Greece’s lenders will decide if and what adjustments can be made. The government says it will not accept any further salary and pension cuts or any dismissals of public servants.  In exchange, it is offering an expanded and aggressive privatization program of its public assets.
Ilias Illiopoulous, Secretary General of ADEDY, public sector employee union, said, “The troika is welcome as long as they bring an agenda with new proposals for the society and economy because we've realized now, whatever they recommend just worsens the situation. They've created a much more severe situation and filled our country with ruins.”
Prime Minister Samaras will present his government’s program at the parliament on Friday night.  And debt inspectors, who will still be in Athens, will be watching closely.


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