Creditors to decide if Greece has done enough for aid
Officials representing Greece's international creditors were back in Athens on Monday, three weeks after mass layoffs at the state broadcaster ERT prompted a political crisis that led one party to quit the shaky coalition government.
Representatives of the troika of creditors - the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund - came to determine whether the Greek authorities have made sufficient progress with their economic overhauls to justify the release of the next instalment of aid for the country.
But before talks between the creditors and Greek officials began on Monday, news reports suggested that the lenders planned to release only part of the next instalment of aid rather than the full €8.1 billion, or $10.6 billion, in order to keep pressure on Athens to deliver on its pledges.
The IMF might have to suspend loan payments to Greece if the authorities are unable to cover a funding shortfall. The organisation's rules dictate that governments must have at least 12 months of financing secured to receive bailout money.
Reports cited a leaked document, purportedly sent by the troika to Greek officials, suggesting that the government might have to make fresh spending cuts if it fails to collect adequate tax revenue and close a funding shortfall of around €1 billion. Neither the government nor troika officials would comment on the news reports.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who saw his government's majority in the 300-seat parliament shrink to just three members after the withdrawal of the junior partner in the coalition, the Democratic Left, has insisted that no more austerity will be imposed.
In a speech to a congress of his conservative New Democracy party on Sunday, he emphasised the need for unity to ensure that the "unbelievable sacrifices" of the Greek people had not been in vain. Two lawmakers who had left the party returned to its ranks on Monday, bringing the government's majority in parliament to 155.
Athens is set to miss a July 31 deadline to move 12,500 civil servants into a "mobility" program for a year, during which they will receive reduced wages before their status is reviewed. New administrative reform minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, regarded as the most pro-reformist cabinet member, plans to ask for a two-month deadline extension.