Lenders View Greece’s Austerity Favorably

Posted November 12th, 2012 at 10:50 am (UTC-5)
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Greece's international lenders have written a favorable report on the country's efforts to control its spending and debt, a key step toward handing Athens more bailout money.

The head of the eurozone finance ministers, Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, said Monday that the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund reported that Greece had “delivered” on its pledges for spending cuts and financial reforms.

Greek workers for weeks have protested in the streets — sometimes violently — against the lenders' demands. But Mr. Juncker said he was impressed with Greece's parliamentary action in recent days to adopt a new round of austerity measures and, on Sunday, a 2013 budget.

“I'm very impressed by the recent political achievements of Greece. The parliament has approved an ambitious reform program last Wednesday and just voted last night the budget for 2013. Step by step, Greece is accomplishing what we were expecting in terms of obligations required from Greece. Today, we will evaluate the Troika report that was submitted to us during the night. There won't be any final decision today, but I believe the general approach of the preparatory works highlights that the next disbursement for Greece will be organized in the best way possible.''

Finance ministers from the 17-nation euro currency bloc are gathering in Brussels to consider the creditors' assessment of Greece's financial condition. Greece is heavily in debt, and in the fifth year of a recession with more than a quarter of its workers unemployed. Greece says it will run out of money and default on its obligations without a new $40 billion segment in bailout funds.

The finance ministers are not likely to take immediate action on Greece's bid for more rescue funds. But they support Greece's request to extend by two years — to 2016 — the eurozone deadline for balancing its budget.