Greek officials and international creditors on Monday will begin a first review of Greece’s bailout as protests grow against the overhauls needed to secure further rescue funding.
Representatives from Greece’s creditors—the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund—who arrived in Athens over the weekend have the thorny issue of pension reforms high on the agenda of their talks with Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos.
Greece needs to wind up this review of the country’s third bailout, worth up to €86 billion ($93 billion), before being able to start negotiations with lenders over debt relief. The progress of the talks will play a crucial role in shaping economic sentiment in Greece and the depth of this year’s recession as last year a stand off between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and lenders over reforms nearly sent the country out of the eurozone.
The meetings in Athens over the next few days will be followed a break and resume soon after that. Officials from the European Commission expect the first review discussion to wind up by Easter.
As well as pensions reforms demanded by lenders in a bid to make the social security system viable, the review talks will access Greece’s fiscal health, the country’s mid-term plan and upcoming privatizations.
The IMF is demanding Greece cut its main pensions in a step opposed by Mr. Tsipras, who favors increases to employer contributions to boost social security funds, arguing that some pension benefits have already been severely reduced since Greece first signed up for rescue funding in 2010.
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