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Bailout partners say Greece making good progress

Bailout partners say Greece making good progress
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Greece is broadly on track to meet the terms of its massive EU/IMF bailout, and will get a third tranche of the aid package, about 9 billion euros, early next year.

EU and IMF officials meeting in Athens where protests against austerity measures continue note there remain problems with tax collection and health spending, but the IMF mission head is upbeat.

“We are confident that Greece will be able to return to the market during the program period. But whether it will be able to return to a market on a scale that will allow it to borrow and not only to roll over obligations to the market, but also to repay the IMF and the European partners, that is admittedly, a question,” said Poul Thomsen.

The IMF also says it stands by Greece to provide further aid when the three-year bailout period elapses. Further recent tweaks to the calculation of the budget deficit have revealed Greece’s position to be worse than previously thought, and the threat of social unrest remains.

Public sector workers in particular are threatening more strike action if, as expected, the axe is taken to staff numbers. Until now the government has focussed on cutting pay and pensions to preserve jobs, but it may now have to take even tougher measures. For the moment it has grudging public support, but that could change.