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International audit of Greek finances ends 'positively'

An EU and IMF review of Greece’s economic reforms and debt-reduction programme ended positively on Friday, the finance ministry said. The audit was a prerequisite for further aid in the multi-billion bailout to save the country's economy.


AFP - A four-week audit of Greek finances by the EU and the International Monetary Fund ended in "positive" fashion on Friday, the finance ministry said, suggesting that Greece would get a vital loan tranche.

"Today the Greek government's talks with the representatives of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund concluded in a positive manner," the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said the two sides had discussed a four-year programme to reduce the Greek public deficit and its debt of some 350 billion euros ($504 billion) through further reform and a sweeping, controversial privatisation drive.

The EU, IMF and ECB, which last year bailed out the country with a huge loan, had made these commitments a condition of further aid.

The government last month outlined a programme of 6.4 billion euros in savings this year and a further 22 billion euros by 2015.

It has also pledged to hold a 50-billion-euro sale of state assets including the near-monopoly telecom and electricity operators, the country's two main ports and one of its best-capitalised banks.

Unions have pledged to fight against the austerity measures. A strike at all companies earmarked for privatisation will be held on June 9, followed by a general strike on June 15, the third this year against the government's plans.

The finance ministry said the relevant measures would be finalised in coming days and will be tabled in parliament.

Greece needed approval of its reforms to unlock a 12-billion-euro loan installment from the EU and the IMF to pay next month's bills.

The money is part of a broader, three-year 110-billion-euro rescue agreed last year.

But the debt-hit country is also negotiating an additional loan package to cover its needs beyond 2013 when the original bailout expires.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou is holding talks on the issue in Luxembourg on Friday with the eurozone's head policymaker Jean-Claude Juncker.


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