Greece making progress, but not adequate
Updated: 2012-10-09 19:14
LUXEMBOURG - Greece needs to make more efforts to qualify for its next rescue loan payment, heads of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Eurogroup said Monday.
"On Greece, clearly, there is progress on the ground. However, more needs to be done on all fronts - fiscal, structural reforms, financing, debt," IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said at a press conference after a meeting of eurozone finance ministers.
Eurogroup President Jean-Claude Juncker echoed Lagarde's views by urging Greece to pass further austerity measures before the next disbursement of bailout loans.
"Greece must clearly demonstrate its strong commitment to the program and the prior actions agreed in March should be implemented by the 18th of October at the latest," Juncker said.
Inspectors from the troika - the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Union, are currently in Greece, looking for ways to reduce the country's debt. Greece needs more money soon to avoid defaulting on its obligations.
On Friday, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras told a German newspaper that his country could not manage beyond November without the next tranche of international aid.
Meanwhile, finance ministers of a few eurozone countries continue to pile pressure on Greece.
Providing support to Greece "is not a one-way street. It requires that Greece continue to undertake the reforms which the government is committed to", Luxembourg Finance Minister Luc Frieden said.
Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager said it was Greece's job to relieve itself from its crisis through reforms and fiscal consolidation.
"We are waiting for the 'troika' report, but it is really up to Greece to resolve this on its own. That is all important and the ball is in their court," De Jager said.
The "troika" report, expected during October, would provide the basis for decisions on whether to disburse the next tranche of aid to Greece. The IMF chief said the mission was still working in Athens, but gave no timetable for the release of the report.
EU experts and officials did not expect an immediate Greek exit from the euro zone even the tranche of loans was further delayed, as Greece can be kept afloat by issuing short-term treasury bills and its banks could live on emergency funds from the Greek central bank.