EU-IMF Troika Returs to Greece for Final Audit

Southeast Europe | September 30, 2014, Tuesday // 07:57|  views

Photo by EPA/BGNES

Experts of the so-called "Troika" of international lenders are set to visit Greece for what could turn into the country's early exit from the bailout program.

The officials are also to discuss the 2015 Greek budget with Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis.

For several days, authorities have claimed Athens could end austerity before the projected period, which is until 2016, with EUR 12.3 B remaining to be transferred to Greece within that time.

Prime Minister Andonis Samaras announced over the weekend that his country would definitely not need a new bailout package.

After a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who praised Greece's austerity efforts, he added cooperation with the "Troika" could be over earlier than expected.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel hailed last week Greece's record in addressing the debt crisis.

Greece, which registered this year a current-account surplus for the first time since statistics on its balance began in 1948.

The projections for next year are at 2.3-2.5 percent of GDP, with a surplus of 3% described by the government as the most likely solution, according to daily Kathimerini's English-language website.

The debt-ridden country saw its economy contracted by between a fourth and a third over the past years while pushing to tackle its financial crises through an exhaustive austerity program drastically cutting civil-sector wages and benefits, firing thousands of civil servants and slashing spending in a number of sectors.

It was able to secure EUR 240 B worth of loans from the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank (ECB) in return.

However, the debt-ridden country's obligations are still standing at 175% of GDP.
The left-wing coalition SYRIZA dismissed Samaras' claims Greece could soon put an end to austerity, saying in a statement there were no indicators that the visit on Tuesday would change conditions set to the country.

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Tags: GREeece, Andonis Samaras, troika, Gikas Hardouvelis, European Commission, IMF, ECB, Syriza, austerity, debt, Angela Merkel, international lenders


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