Doubt Over Timing Of Troika’s Return To Athens
(BRUSSELS) MNI – The timing of the return to Athens of inspectors
from the European Commission, IMF and European Central Bank, to complete
a review of Greece’s progress towards meeting goals tied to a crucial E8
billion tranche of financial assistance has again been cast in doubt
after European Commission officials said Monday that “no precise date”
had yet been set.
The European Commission had said last week that the inspectors,
from the so-called Troika, would be back in Athens this week. Inspectors
are still likely to return “soon,” a Commission spokesman said today.
Reiterating a statement made by EU Economic and Monetary Affairs
Commisioner Olli Rehn in Washington DC last Thursday, that Europe was
“not going to abandon Greece” because an “uncontrolled default” would
have grave consequences for the EU and global economy, the spokesman
nevertheless said that this was the “last chance” to avoid a “collapse
of the Greek economy.”
“Technical work” was still ongoing, but the main challenges —
Athens’ fiscal gap for this year and next, and details about its
structural reforms and privatization programme — still need to be
addressed, he said.
The European Commission does “take into account the financing needs
of the Greek state,” but “the financial conditions must be met before we
can proceed with the disbursement,” said the spokesman.
Greece has made “very significant progress” but more still needs to
be done, he said.
Although Greece has no international bond repayments to make until
the end of this year, the government will likely be unable to pay public
sector workers and pensions in full, without the E8 billion tranche of
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