Greece: Fiscal Check by EU, IMF Is ‘Positive’

Posted June 3rd, 2011 at 11:45 am (UTC-5)
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The Greek Finance Ministry says an inspection of the country's finances by the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund has ended “positively.”

Talks in Athens Friday measured how much progress Greece has made in reforming its economy in line with last year's $159 billion bailout package of loans from the three institutions. Also discussed was a four-year plan with additional austerity measures and a privatization program to reduce the Greek deficit and debt.

In a statement, the government said details of the plan would be discussed in the coming days and are subject to Cabinet approval.

Earlier Friday, protesters blockaded the Finance Ministry where negotiations took place. About 200 people from a communist-affiliated union hung a five-story-tall banner calling for a general strike to protest the government's newest austerity plans.

International lenders have been pressing Athens to impose more stringent financial controls and to speed up sales of government assets to help cut Athens' debt.

As Greece has struggled to rein in its spending, financial industry monitors have repeatedly reduced the country's credit rating, and interest rates the government faces on the national debt have increasingly grown higher. Many financial experts say the Greek recovery effort could end in default.

Moody's Investors Service downgraded its ratings for eight Greek banks Friday, following another reduction in the country's credit rating earlier this.