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Inspectors back in Athens over bailout tranche

Talks between Greek officials and representatives of major creditors have resumed in Athens as the southern European nation hopes to secure yet another bailout tranche by July at the latest.

Greek government officials and inspectors from the European Commission, the European Central Bank, the European Stability Mechanism and the International Monetary Fund were seen back at the negotiating table in Athens on Tuesday, following a protracted stand-off among creditors.

EU officials and IMF representatives had been locked in a row over debt relief and budget targets for Greece. The impasse was finally broken in Brussels last week with a compromise that is likely to result in more austerity measures for the cash-strapped nation.

Athens needs the new tranche of bailout cash to meet 7 billion euros ($7.42 billion) of new debt payments in July or risk defaulting on its loans.

The tranche would be part of a third huge aid package of up to 86 billion euros to keep Greece afloat.

Tug of war

According to the Greek Finance Ministry, first talks on Tuesday morning centered on Athens' privatization plans and issues related to energy supply and costs.

The ministry added further savings measures were to be debated in the evening. Greek media reported creditors were calling for additional labor and pension reforms. There was also talk about lowering tax-free income to 6,000 euros a year from 8,636 euros at present.

Combined, the slated austerity measures are to wash another 3.6 billion euros into state coffers. It's yet unclear for how long the inspectors will stay in Greece this time around.

hg/jd (dpa, AFP)

 

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