Auditors to stay in Greece until new reforms are ready
(ATHENS) - Auditors from the EU, IMF and the European Central Bank will remain in Greece until a credible reform programme is formed, a finance ministry source said on Sunday.
Auditors from the so-called troika arrived in Athens last week to report on the crisis-hit country's implementation of reforms that are part of the EU-IMF loan agreement which have been keeping its economy afloat.
"We want to help and we will stay as long as it is needed until your programme is ready," the International Monetary Fund's Poul Thomsen said during a dinner with Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, a source reported.
Thomsen said the troika would help Greece finalise the new measures and would then draft a report that will pave the way for the next installment of its loan agreement.
Greece is way behind in the implementation of the reforms, after back-to-back elections in May and June that caused a two-month political deadlock.
Following a first meeting last week, the political leaders of Greece's conservative-led, three-party coalition government will meet again on Monday, to agree on 11.6 billion euros ($14.9 billion) of spending cuts.
The cuts will hit pensions, healthcare and benefits and have angered leading private sector Greek union GSEE which met the international auditors on Friday.
Labour Minister Yiannis Vroutsis said those receiving small pensions will not be affected by the new measures in an interview with Sunday newspaper Typos tis Kyriakis.
"Finally it seems for the first time there is a strategic planning for a renegotiation" of the bailout terms, he said.
"The extension of the fiscal adjustment programmes will be the first achievement of the renegotiation. It will give us time to implement the structural reforms necessary to restart the economy and boost employment with the least possible social consequences."
As rumours of a Greek eurozone exit grew louder last week, Nobel prize-winning economist Robert Mundell told two Greek newspapers on Sunday that it was important for the country to remain in the eurozone.
In the aftermath of ECB chief Mario Draghi's recent comments that the European Central Bank was ready to do "whatever it takes to preserve the euro," Mundell claimed the ECB should issue its own bonds.
Mundell, who is often called the "father" of the euro, had warned last week that a euro exit would be disastrous for Greece and would take the country 20-50 years back.
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