Greece gears up for final bailout audit

GMT 15:36 2014 Monday ,24 November

Arab Today, arab today Greece gears up for final bailout audit

Greece is gearing up for tough talks
Athens - AFP

Greek officials are gearing up for tough negotiations on Tuesday when they meet the country's international creditors in Paris for a final audit into reforms needed for a 240-billion-euro bailout.
The two-day meeting will "raise key points and get the audit going", said a spokesman of the European Commission -- one of Greece's three international lenders.
"Progress needs to be made on a certain number of measures before the mission can go back to Greece," another EU source told AFP.
"It's the last audit and it is therefore expected to be the most difficult," Sophia Voultepsi, Greece's government spokeswoman, told private television channel Skai.
Among thorny issues is Greece's budget for 2015, which has failed to win the approval of the international creditors -- who also include the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank.
To meet its target of keeping the deficit to 0.2 percent of output, Athens would need two to three billion euros in additional resources than budgeted, the creditors said.
The budget put forward by Athens expects economic growth to reach 2.9 percent in 2015.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said early this month that Greece would seek additional debt relief as a reward for a massive belt-tightening effort to slash its colossal debt.
Other structural reforms including union rights and social assurances are also being discussed, although the government is facing immense popular pressure ahead of elections next year.
Unions have called a general strike on Thursday.
The conclusion of such an audit would also mark the end of the EU's bailout programme for Greece. The IMF's programme would however go on until 2016.
The European Commission estimates that Greece will end six years of recession in 2014 and post slim growth of 0.6 percent.
Output expansion will pick up pace in 2015 to 2.9 percent before reaching 3.7 percent in 2016, according to the commission.


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