Auditors want two more years for Greece
BERLIN - Agence- France—PresseAn international team of auditors assessing Greece’s progress towards cutting its debt mountain has concluded Athens needs two more years to complete its painful reforms, a German magazine said Oct. 14.
Der Spiegel said the so-called ‘troika’, comprising the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund “asked eurozone finance ministers last week to give Athens two more years.” Athens is trying to persuade the troika that it is doing all it can to slash costs by 13.5 billion euros ($17.5 billion) by the end of 2014, with a 31.5 billion-euro installment from its bailout packages riding on that.
Delaying the reforms demanded in return for billions of euros in bailout money until 2016 would increase the bill for Greece’s creditors by some 30 billion euros, the magazine said, without citing sources.
This financing hole could only be filled if public institutions, such as the European Central Bank, took a hit on some of the Greek debt it holds or a third bailout package is agreed, the magazine said.
Spiegel also reported that the different bodies within the troika held differing views on the path of Greece’s debt reduction. Athens has committed to cutting its debt levels to 120 percent of output by 2020.
The ECB and the IMF believe that Greece’s debt will be some 140 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020.