Greece debt cutting applauded

Greece’s
efforts to tackle its public deficit have had a “strong start”, the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Union (EU) have said.

The
comments came after a delegation of staff from the IMF, EU and European Central
Bank visited the country to check on the progress.

In
May, the EU and the IMF agreed to loan Greece $145 billion over three years.

An
IMF official said he was “confident” Greece would get the next instalment.

A
$12 billion loan is due to be given to Greece on 13 September, and is dependent
upon the government meeting progress targets.

Greece
is continuing efforts to make big cuts to government spending, moves that have
sparked a number of violent protests and strikes.

While
the IMF and EU welcomed the work Greece had carried out so far, they also
warned that “important challenges and risks remain”.

They
noted while central government spending was now “significantly below
budget limits”, local authorities and hospitals were still over-spending.

The
report added that the Greek government had made “impressive” efforts
regarding structural reforms, such as trimming pensions and continuing efforts
to reform the labour market.

“The
programme has made remarkable progress,” said Servaas Deroose, a
representative for the European Commission.

However,
he added that this now needed to be consolidated.

The
Greek government is trying to reduce a national debt that stands at about 115
per cent of its gross domestic output, and a public deficit that exceeds 13 per
cent.

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