Exclusive: Greece has three days to deliver or face consequences - EU officials

Tue Jul 2, 2013 3:53pm EDT
 

BRUSSELS/ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece has three days to reassure Europe and the IMF that it can deliver on conditions attached to its bailout in order to receive its next tranche of aid, four euro zone officials said on Tuesday.

The lenders are unhappy with progress Greece has made towards reforming its public sector, a senior euro zone official involved in the negotiations said, while another said they might suspend an inspection visit they resumed on Monday.

Athens, which has about 2.2 billion euros of bonds to redeem in August, needs the talks to conclude successfully.

If they fail, the International Monetary Fund might have to withdraw from the 240 billion euro ($313 billion) bailout to avoid violating its own rules, which require a borrower to be financed a year ahead.

That would heighten the risk that concerted efforts by policymakers over the past nine months to keep a lid on the euro zone crisis could unravel, at a time when tensions are rising in other troubled debtor countries.

Athens is scrambling to bridge differences with troika inspectors and wrap up the review by the end of this week, a Greek coalition official who took part in the talks told Reuters on Tuesday.

"Negotiations must be concluded by Saturday or Sunday at the latest in order to have a (troika) staff agreement that will be discussed at a Eurogroup meeting on Monday," said the official who declined to be named.

The two sides had yet to agree on how to plug a fiscal gap and Athens has missed a June deadline to place 12,500 state workers into a "mobility scheme", under which they are transferred or dismissed within a year.

Tensions over bailout terms have also mounted in Portugal, where Finance Minister Vitor Gaspar, the architect of its bailout measures, resigned on Monday and was followed on Tuesday by Foreign Minister Paulo Portas.   Continued...

 
A Greek flug flutters at the top of the Acroplis hill in Athens July 2, 2013. REUTERS/John Kolesidis