Greece’s international creditor’s from the EU/IMF, known as the troika, said yesterday that they had completed a brief check-up of the country’s performance and will return for a full audit in September.
Their visit was a particularly low-profile one and it was the first time that the troika didn’t meet with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. Mr. Samaras hopes that the “change of guard” at the European Commission will be in Greece’s favor and that Greece may also benefit from the plans of the European Central Bank for more fluidity in the Eurozone giving some relief from the harsh austerity process currently gripping the European Union. For this reason, Mr. Samaras is attending the EU leaders summit accompanied by Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis who will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel for the first time.
Mr. Hardouvelis is in a race against time to complete as many as 600 outstanding measures since May within 60 days. The government is keeping its cards closed regarding the review of collective redundancies and “red loans” and has asked for the troika to judge everything in the final round of negotiations in September.
On their part, the troika kept silent and appeared satisfied that Greece was on a steady course with tax revenue and the primary surplus of the six-month period for the start of 2014 surpassing expectations.
The talks between the troika and the government concerned privatizations, structural reforms to make the economy more competitive, handling bad loans that are burdening Greek banks and the state of public finances.
“The meetings were productive, and it was agreed that the full mission should continue discussions in the second half of September,” the European Commission, ECB, and IMF said in a statement. This view was backed by a senior Greek finance ministry official speaking to reporters in Athens.