EU Commission Denies Reports of New Troika Talks on Greek Cuts

The European Commission on Monday denied Greek media reports that officials from the country’s international lenders were in Athens for talks on further budget spending cuts to meet bailout-dictated fiscal targets.

Spokesman Amadeu Altafaj said he was aware of reports ,’according to which negotiations will start today on a new medium-term strategy.’

‘These reports are not accurate,’ he told reporters in Brussels, adding that ‘this is not a troika team’ – the term commonly used to describe the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

He noted that the commission is in contact with Athens at least once a week over matters related to its international bailout and a commission task force that offers Greece technical advice on reforms.

Greek media had reported that a technical team comprising troika officials would discuss slashing a further 11 billion euros (14 billion dollars) in spending over the next two years.

According to Greek daily Kathimerini, state salaries are to be reduced by a further 10 per cent, health care spending is to be cut by 6.3 billion euros and unemployment benefits by 2 billion euros.

Greek radio reports said the team of international inspectors would also examine the newly passed bill for the liberalization of the taxi sector and other reforms that the current interim government has promised to implement before elections are due to take place at the end of April or early May.
(source: DPA)