Greece denies split with auditors amid funding fears

Greece Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos insisted on Sunday that there was no rift with European Union (EU) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) auditors, who left Athens complaining that Greece had failed to meet the conditions to unlock more rescue funding.

“The departure of the members of the EU, IMF and European Central Bank on Friday was agreed and planned from the outset as a means that would allow us to have a complete picture, not only for the implementation of the 2011 budget, but also for the draft budget of 2012,” Venizelos said in a statement.

His comments were an attempt to set the record straight following reports in the Greek media over the weekend that there was a rift with the European and international auditors over their demand for additional reforms.

The Greek minister stressed that they had left Athens “only for them to return in ten days”.

Audit
Senior EU, IMF and ECB officials, known as the ‘troika’ in Greece, arrived in Athens last week to audit the country before giving the green light for the disbursement of the sixth instalment from €110-billion bailout loan agreed to last year.

Venizelos conceded on Friday that Greece would have to revise its public deficit target for this year but rejected suggestions of a split.

A statement by the troika’s auditors said that “good progress” had been made on a fresh revamp of Greece’s finances but that more time was needed to draft a new 2012 budget.

Privately a source close to the mission said the visit had been interrupted because of “unfinished work” by the Greek authorities.

“The fiscal measures are not there, the list of privatisations is not finalised and there is still no uniform salary system for civil servants,” the source told Agence France-Presse.

The senior officials from the three organisations had arrived last Monday to head the audit which usually takes around two weeks to complete.—AFP

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