Belfast Telegraph

Home News World

Debt inspectors back in Greece

Greece's international debt inspectors have returned to Athens to resume their suspended review of the country's reforms and determine whether to recommend the debt-struck nation receives the vital next instalment of bailout loans.

Officials from the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank and European Commission, known as the troika, halted their review earlier this month amid dissatisfaction over missed fiscal targets and delays in implementation of reforms the country must make to qualify for its bailout loans.

An initial meeting with finance minister Evangelos Venizelos was "positive and constructive," a ministry official said. The talks consisted of an overview of issues to be examined until the review is completed, the official said on condition of anonymity in keeping with ministry rules.

The heads of the troika were to meet again with Mr Venizelos and other ministers in the coming days.

Greece has been reliant since May 2010 on regular payouts of loans from a 110 billion euro (£95bn) bailout from other eurozone countries and the IMF. It was granted a second 109 billion euro package in July, though the details of that deal remain to be worked out.

The troika had originally been expected to approve Greece's next batch of loans in early September. Greece has said that without the loans, it has enough funds to see it through mid-October, after which it runs out of cash and will be unable to pay salaries and pensions.

The government announced a series of extra austerity measures after the troika left, including pension cuts, extra taxes and the suspension of 30,000 civil servants on partial pay by the end of the year.

Prime Minister George Papandreou stressed during a Cabinet meeting to discuss the situation that the new measures were essential, and that Greece would honor the commitments it had made.


From Belfast Telegraph