Tuesday, October 9, 2012

EU IMF give Greece until October 18 to implement reforms

President of the Eurogroup Council Jean-Claude Juncker (L) speaks with IMF cheif Christine Lagarde before a Eurogroup Council meeting in Luxembourg on October 8, 2012

Source: Press TV

Greece's international creditors have given Athens until October 18, the start of next week's two-day European Union summit, to deliver on scores of broken promises in order to qualify for its next rescue loan payment.

"We stressed that before the next disbursement Greece clearly and credibly should demonstrate its commitment to fully implement the program -- and 89 prior actions from March should be implemented by the 18th of October at the latest," Eurogroup Chairman Jean-Claude Juncker said on Monday at the close of talks with eurozone finance ministers in Luxemburg, AFP reported.

Debt-stricken Greece has depended on bailouts from fellow countries in the 17-nation single currency bloc and the International Monetary Fund since May 2010. To get the loans, it implemented a series of deep income cuts and tax hikes, while increasing retirement ages and facilitating private sector layoffs.

IMF chief Christine Lagarde, who also attended the eurozone finance ministers meeting, said, "On Greece more work needs to be done… Acting means acting, not just speaking."

On Friday, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said that his country could not take more bitter medicine and if the next disbursement of 31.5 billion euros from a 130-billion second package of loans for the country did not arrive soon, the government will run out of cash next month.

The warning by Greece's bailout creditors came a day before German Chancellor Angela Merkel visits Greece to hold talks with Prime Minister Samaras and President Carolos Papoulias.

Merkel is likely to face angry protests in a country where many blame Germany for the Greek government's draconian austerity measures.

Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias appealed to protesters on Monday to "protect the peace, and above all our country's prospects and our international image."

Some 7,000 police officers will be deployed across Athens on Tuesday to maintain security during Merkel’s stay.

Greece has been at the epicenter of the eurozone debt crisis and is experiencing its fifth year of recession, while harsh austerity measures have left about half a million people without jobs.

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