Monday 25 September 2017

EU/IMF inspectors to hit Greece

Finance Minister Michael Noonan pictured with French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde at the Eurogroup meeting of finance ministers in Luxembourg. Photo: Reuters
Finance Minister Michael Noonan pictured with French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde at the Eurogroup meeting of finance ministers in Luxembourg. Photo: Reuters

Independent.ie reporters

An inspectorate from the EU/IMF will visit Athens tomorrow to assess progress on the implementation of Greece’s austerity plans, an EU official has confirmed.

"They will be here Tuesday and Wednesday at least," said Carlos Martin Ruiz de Gordejuela.

"It will be a technical mission," Mr Ruiz de Gordejuela said.

The officials will monitor Greece’s progress on a fiscal plan agreed in May.

However, Eurozone finance ministers have postponed a decision to give Greece a further €12bn loan, until the Greek government passes a €28bn austerity package.

After a seven-hour meeting in Luxembourg, which broke up early this morning, Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, who chairs the regular meetings of the 17 eurozone finance ministers, said that Greece will get the next €12bn of its existing €110bn bailout package in early July, but only if it manages to pass €28bn in new spending cuts and economic reforms by the end of the month.

Meanwhile, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has said it is not sustainable for the European Union to withhold a reduction of the interest rate Ireland has to pay on the EU/IMF bailout.

Mr Gilmore is due to hold a bilateral meeting with his German counterpart Guido Westerwelle today in Luxembourg.

He said it does not make sense to withhold the cut from a country that is implementing its programme and making progress.

The Tánaiste said Government Ministers are continuing to work to break the logjam.

However, he said he was not in a position to make a prediction if a breakthrough might happen at a meeting of EU leaders this week.

He said the main objective was to obtain the breakthrough, rather than set an arbitrary deadline that may or may not be met.

Mr Gilmore added that it was time for Ireland to stop being bracketed with Greece because Ireland was succeeding.

Elsewhere, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has responded to comments by economist Colm McCarthy on Morning Ireland.

Mr McCarthy said that the Government would have to raise €3.8bn euro in the Budget in December.

The Taoiseach said the Growth and Stability Programme submitted last month had suggested there could be a requirement for €3.6bn.

He said the Government would make its decisions for the 2012 Budget following Minister Brendan Howlin's comprehensive spending review in September.

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