ATHENS: Greece’s new three-party coalition heads for a showdown this week with a “troika” of international creditors — the EU, IMF and ECB — over its bid to revise an austerity-centred bailout.
The new conservative-led government, backed by socialists and moderate leftists, debuts with creditor auditors arriving to determine how much — or little — has been done and whether or not to disburse much-needed loans.The cabinet has been hit by a wave of health troubles just days after coming to power. But it has set out demands ahead of a crucial EU summit on Thursday and Friday, including calls for a two-year extension for applying structural reforms, to 2016.
Under pressure from foreign creditors on one side and popular anger against austerity on the other, the government is seen as hopelessly weak by some analysts. But others point to the broad mandate of the three-party coalition. Analysts agree that the outcome of negotiations over the multi-billion-euro bailout that is keeping the economy on life support will prove crucial to the longevity of the government.The arrival of auditors, originally scheduled for Monday has also been delayed, with a new date yet to be announced.The government already has a mountain to climb and no time to lose. State coffers are almost empty, with reserves set to last only until late July.
Structural reforms pledged in return for loans from the EU and IMF have been delayed. As a result, the creditors lack a clear image of where the country stands, and no new funds can be released until this is clarified by an audit. The exception is an instalment of $1.25 billion left over from before the elections, which is expected to be released by the end of June.