Lenders pressuring Greece over austerity pledges
Greece’s international creditors are putting new pressure on Athens to meet its pledges to cut government spending before handing over more bailout money to the debt-ridden country.
The lenders are unhappy with the pace of cutbacks in the Greek government workforce and growing deficits on health care spending. Athens missed a June deadline to put more more than 12,000 state workers into a program under which they would be transferred to other jobs or dismissed within a year.
Greece, now in its sixth year of recession and with more than a quarter of its workforce unemployed, is seeking release of more than $10 billion from its latest rescue package.
Cutting spending to meet the demands of the lenders has proved difficult, however, with widespread protests taking place last month over the government’s shutdown of the state-run broadcaster ERT and firing of 2,600 workers.
The lenders – Greece’s European neighbors, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund – have been meeting with government officials in Athens. They are demanding that the government make progress on its austerity pledges ahead of next week’s meeting of eurozone finance ministers, who are set to discuss whether to release more money to Athens.