Euro zone members seek tougher policing of Greece

Tue Oct 18, 2011 1:09pm EDT
 
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By John O'Donnell

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Some euro zone countries want a European Commission task force to be given extra powers to oversee the sale of Greek state assets and the country's civil service under a far-reaching plan to tighten supervision of Athens, EU sources told Reuters.

The radical proposal, dismissed by some officials as a form of colonialism and which may be shot down in the face of such criticism, underscores mounting pressure for stricter policing of Athens, with some ready to demand its sovereignty be clipped.

It has echoes of a German idea, mentioned by German chancellor Angela Merkel at a meeting of her Christian Democrat party in Berlin on Tuesday, that a permanent mission from the 'troika' of international lenders could be established to monitor Greece.

The European Commission, however, said there was no plan to give its current task force executive powers.

Euro zone leaders meet on Sunday to discuss further aid for Greece. With countries such as Germany and the Netherlands frustrated by Athens' lack of progress on privatization and other reform, tighter control is one issue on the agenda.

Support for stronger supervision partly reflects dissatisfaction in countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Finland with Greece and its failure to bring its finances more rapidly into check.

Emphasizing the need for far tighter oversight of Greece's economy, one euro zone source who supports the idea of giving the Commission's task force more executive power said: "It's that or not getting the money."

The source added that there was a need to "take over some of the sovereign functions of the state" to "get the machine running."   Continued...