Lenders return to Greece for more austerity checks | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 04.06.2013
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Lenders return to Greece for more austerity checks

International lenders forming the so-called troika have returned to Greece to continue auditing Athens' endeavors to get to grips with its financial woes. The government said it hoped for another bailout tranche.

Creditors from the EU executive, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday resumed their audit of Greek measures to bring down public debt.

The Greek Finance Ministry said the latest round of checks, to last until mid-June, would focus on the sacking of up to 4,000 civil servants as part of a huge package of austerity measures prescribed by the troika lenders.

Greek newspaper "Kathimerini" reported that, while the government in Athens remained committed to firing public sector workers by the end of the year, it was afraid of triggering too much unrest during the busy and economically important holiday season.

More rescue funds at stake

IMF chief Christine Lagarde warned Greece must not relax its fiscal effort that was starting to bear fruit after first painful sacrifices. "There are some really positive developments, but obviously more needs to be done in terms of revenue collection and the independence of the tax administration," Lagarde told state television NET.

Lenders hoped that Greece would open up its product and services market which they believed would go a long way towards attracting more investors and making sure the economy could pick up again.

Athens said it was confident it would hit a primary surplus in 2014, that is a gain not counting debt servicing costs. The country already erased nearly a third of its immediate debt, with over 100 billion euros ($130 billion) removed from the overall load through a write-down agreed with private creditors including banks.

Finance Ministry officials said the current troika audit should not involve any major bones of contention, meaning that Athens would qualify for another 3.3-billion-euro tranche in international bailout funds.

hg/rc (AFP, dpa)