EU demands more austerity in Greece

Germany, Austria and The Netherlands attack Greece for not implementing cuts and mass privatisation

Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras confirmed that further EU funding was unlikely before March as EU officials demanded Athens intensify its austerity and public sell off programme according to a report in The New York Times.

At the conclusion of a summit of eurozone officials in Brussels Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who leads the Eurogroup, said there has been “far too little” progress and “further work is needed in Greece before the troika can return to Athens”.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said that “further efforts are needed,” while Michael Spindelegger of Austria expressed concerns about a lagging privatisation programme.

The EU, ECB and IMF Troika has been pushing Athens to sell-off more state assets and adopt a raft of proposals aimed at deregulating the economy even further.

In return for handing over the economy, Athens will receive a bridging loan that could reach €15 billion over the next two years.

However Mr Dijsselbloem revealed that Greek officials and the troika inspectors were at a virtual impasse.

“We’ve made it quite clear that we’re not going to come back to it until there is a final positive conclusion to the review,” he said.

Both sides are conscious that elections for the European Parliament are nearing, and that Greece’s unpopular government is facing strong opposition to the austerity measures that have sparked high unemployment and a contraction of more than 25 per cent in the size of the country’s economy since the crisis began.

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