The European Central Bank has told Greece not to waste time trying to renegotiate its international bailout and water down the austerity measures demanded.
That advice came as new Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras met with other government ministers to try to work out ways to ease the bailout’s punishing terms.
But, speaking in Athens, ECB policymaker Joerg
Asmussen warned: “The programme is the best option for Greece. The difficulties that Greece is currently experiencing do not stem from the programme. They stem from many years of unsustainable economic policies and a reluctance to implement the necessary reforms.”
Despite his comments the Athens government clings to the hope their lenders of last resort – the European Union and the International Monetary Fund – will agree to dilute the austerity measures that are keeping Greece in recession for a fifth year with tax hikes, job losses and wage cuts.
This week EU and IMF inspectors are again monitoring the progress of Greece’s reform efforts.
It is their first visit since October 2011 and follows last month’s elections.