IMF and ECB officials to begin Greek assessment

26 July 2010

Officials from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank (ECB) are heading to Greece to investigate how the country is implementing its program of economic reform.

They will be joined by a team from the European Commission (EC) for the task, which is scheduled to take a fortnight to complete.

Ahead of the visit, Greek finance minister George Papaconstantinou said the nation was beginning to turn the corner after receiving a €110 billion ($141.9 billion) rescue package sponsored by the IMF and the EU, reports the Guardian.

"We have met the conditions that needed to be implemented by the end of June [in exchange for the rescue package] and we have actually taken further measures ahead of time," he stated.

"The programme is bearing fruit."

Greece was given €20 billion worth of funding in May, but under the terms of the agreement it must be seen to be properly enforcing its austerity plan in order to be granted further cash injections.

Mr Papaconstantinou said that Greece's progress so far means it should be able to access a further €9 billion in September to help it cover its borrowing requirements.

It is expected that the joint ECB, IMF and EC team will use their visit to call on Greek's socialist government to privatize loss-making utilities, such as the country's railway system, which is said to be losing around €2.5 million on a daily basis.

The government has already instigated a wave of money-saving measures in a bid to save €30 billion by 2014, including cutting the pay of civil servants and increasing VAT.

Last month, it was revealed that the €332 billion increase in lending by the ECB since June 2008 has been chiefly driven by Greece, reported the Financial Times.

A report from the Royal Bank of Scotland said that €78.1 billion of this money has gone to Greece, with Spain in second position on €58.4 billion.

By Tony Aynsley

Become a bobsguide member to access the following

1. Unrestricted access to bobsguide
2. Send a proposal request
3. Insights delivered daily to your inbox
4. Career development