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Debt crisis Creditors resume Greek audit as EU presses for progress

Debt crisis: Creditors resume Greek audit as EU presses for progress

ATHENS: Greece’s creditors on Monday resumed an audit of the stricken country’s finances, a day after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said an EU-IMF rift was delaying progress.

Greece’s finance ministry said the meetings, interrupted by the summer break, would begin with talks on a revamped privatisation fund which will be outside the Greek state control.

Leftist-led Greece must deliver fresh reforms to unlock 2.8 billion euros ($3 billion) in pending bailout loans, and more crucially, launch negotiations on debt relief later in the year.

Tsipras has made debt solution a top priority, and on Sunday he complained that European Union-International Monetary Fund disagreement over Greek fiscal targets was holding up the talks.

“We are closer than ever before to a solution to this crisis. What is delaying the effort of regaining the trust of the markets is the constant disagreement between the European institutions and the IMF,” Tsipras told a news conference at the Thessaloniki international fair.

The Washington-based IMF, a key player in Greece’s three bailouts, has said it won’t give a penny to the latest one until it sees a concrete plan from the Europeans to substantially cut Greece’s massive debt burden.

The IMF and EU creditors disagree on how much Athens can improve its finances through on-going reforms.

“The IMF has set a deadline for the end of this year; a country that has gone through such a harsh adjustment can’t wait any longer. Its people are entitled to a fair solution of the debt issue,” Tsipras said.

The Greek premier added that Greece should have already been included in the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing programme – a monetary policy used by central banks to stimulate the economy when standard monetary policy has become ineffective.

Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem warned Athens on Friday to swiftly deliver as its programme shows signs of lagging behind again.

“The pressure is back on. We really need some progress. The summer is over, pack up the camping gear, get back to work,” Dijsselbloem told reporters.

Athens has committed to deliver on the reforms by the end of the month. They include the long delayed launch of the new privatisation fund and reforms in the highly sensitive energy sector.

The EU’s Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said Greece must deliver on 15 reforms, with only two of those achieved so far.

Courtesy : Express Tribune



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