Troika Calls Week’s Truce in Haggling Over Greek Budget
Greece and representatives of the country’s international lenders agreed to take a week-long break from inconclusive talks to carve out an 11.5 billion-euro ($14.9 billion) budget-cut package that’s key to receiving aid funds.
The International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank said in a joint statement their mission to Athens for financial talks will take a “brief pause” and “expects to return to Athens after about a week.”
“The mission has had productive discussions with the authorities since early September and has made good progress during this period,” said the group, known as the “troika,” yesterday. A Greek finance ministry official said he hoped that the package will be finalized before the troika’s return.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has struggled for two weeks to broker an agreement with the troika and his coalition partners on a package that will include more than 7 billion euros of cuts to wages, pensions and benefits in a country battling a fifth year of recession and with nearly a quarter of the workforce unemployed. Greece’s two biggest unions plan to hold a 24-hour general strike on Sept. 26.
The troika, representing the international lenders in Greece’s bailout package, have already said some of the reductions don’t go far enough, repeatedly forcing all parties back to the negotiating table.