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Europe

Papandreou confident as officials arrive for Greek financial checkup

EU, IMF, and ECB officials have arrived in Athens for meetings to determine whether Greece has met the conditions of its economic bailout. Prime Minister George Papandreou has stressed that all targets are being hit.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou

Conditions must be met for Greece to receive its bailout

Officials from the European Union (EU), International Monetary Fund (IMF), and European Central Bank (ECB) arrived in Athens on Monday for a check-up on Greece's success in meeting the conditions for an ongoing international bailout.

The joint mission is to begin a new audit of Greek finances that will determine the payment of a third, nine-billion-euro installment of the 110-billion-euro ($141 million) bailout loan, planned for December.

Debt restructuring ruled out

Over the weekend, Prime Minister George Papandreou addressed the Greek public to dispel suspicions that the country would have to restructure its immense national debt in order to meet the demands of the international lenders.

"The logic of restructuring the debt would be catastrophic for the economy, for our credibility, for our future," Papandreou said in Thessaloniki in a speech outlining his government's economic priorities.

If debt payments were suspended, he said Greece "would head towards a potential and probable collapse of the banking system," which would result in the "tragedy of Greek families losing their property. We will not discuss it."

Protests continue

Greece averted defaulting on its debt in May when it agreed to unprecedented austerity measures in exchange for the EU-IMF loan.

Greeks in protest

Thousands have taken to the streets in Greece

The measures have triggered waves of strikes and protests that have disrupted order and social cohesion in the country for months.

On Saturday, hours before Papandreou's address to the nation in Thessaloniki, 20,000 people marched through the streets in protest of the ongoing cuts.

Papandreou attempted to forge solidarity with his people in the speech by promising that no new austerity measures would be made.

He also acknowledged the country's fight against corruption, which was one of the main international charges brought against Greece as it faced the threat of defaulting on its debt in May.

"Despite the Cassandras, we have shown we are a credible nation. Greek people have decided to make changes."

Author: Gabriel Borrud (AFP/Reuters)
Editor: Rob Turner

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