Arab Today, arab today greece eyes imminent troika deal to unlock bailout aid
Last Updated : GMT 08:53:10
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Greece eyes imminent troika deal to unlock bailout aid

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Arab Today, arab today Greece eyes imminent troika deal to unlock bailout aid

Athens - AFP

Greece hopes to conclude negotiations with the so-called troika of international creditors by Monday in a bid to unlock the next rescue loan, the head of the country\'s socialist party said Saturday. \"We have come up with a proposal we all agree on and which I hope the troika will accept by tomorrow night,\" said Evangelos Venizelos, after an hours-long meeting with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and another leader of Greece\'s coalition government. A group of creditors from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Union and the European Central Bank -- known as the troika -- have been assessing the bailed-out country\'s progress in implementing reforms. The auditors\' report is necessary to release a 2.8-billion-euro ($3.7 billion) trance of aid out of Greece\'s rescue package. Another loan payment of 6.0 billion euros, originally scheduled for the first quarter of 2013, will have to be postponed until at least mid-April. Expediting efforts to reach an agreement with the troika was \"absolutely necessary\", Venizelos added. Under the terms of its bailout plan, Greece has to cut the number of public sector employees by 25,000 this year and by 150,000 by the end of 2015. But public sector job cuts are a thorny issue in the recession-weary country. According to media reports, Samaras and his government\'s two junior partners have decided to cut 4,000 jobs in the public sector by the end of 2013. \"The constitution does not forbid the dismissal of civil servants whose position is abolished,\" Samaras said in a Saturday interview with daily Imerissia, paving the way for the move. On Thursday, local media reported that the troika was pressuring Greece to fire nearly 2,000 civil servants by June and put another 7,000 on a so-called mobility scheme by the end of the year. In early April, representatives of Greece\'s foreign creditors resumed an audit that was interrupted just before the eruption of the banking crisis in Cyprus. On Thursday, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said there were still \"numerous\" pending issues and that talks would continue the following week. According to the bailout terms, Greece must also speed up privatisation plans and recapitalise its banks. The heavily indebted country, which is facing a sixth year of continuous recession, has been relying on international rescue packages to avoid bankruptcy and get its economy back on track. The EU and the IMF have committed a total of 240 billion euros in rescue loans to Greece since 2010.

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