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Troika inspectors press Greece for more austerity

Troika inspectors press Greece for more austerity
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Inspectors from the so-called “troika” – the European Union, International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank are in Greece again.

They met with Greek finance minister Yannis Stournaras to talk about further privatisations, more property taxes and the layoff of 4,000 public workers by the end of the year, in return for the next instalment of bailout money.

This comes just days after the IMF admitted “mistakes” over Greece’s economic recovery plan, including underestimating how much its economy would slump from austerity measures:

That has stoked public anger. One man in Athens said: “They are making complete fools of us, they’re laughing in our faces. Even I saw this coming before the first bailout, that it would destroy our economy, society and the country, so they – who are so educated – must have known it.”

But the Greek government is also accused of making things worse by not implementing promised spending cuts and privatisations in a timely manner and even now it is reported to be foot dragging on detailing the thousands who need to be laid off from the bloated public sector.

Currently income is still not covering outgoings and tax revenue is way lower than forecast.

On Monday it was revealed that the country’s budget deficit did narrow by 64 percent in the first five months of the year. It was 3.9 billion euros from 10.9 billion euros from the same period in 2012.

Still tax revenues are 562 million euros less that than anticipated for the first five months of 2013.

To get its struggling economy growing again, Athens is asking for some concessions from the troika – including VAT reductions on restaurants,bars, fast food and hotel catering. They want VAT cut from 23 percent to 13 percent.