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EU-IMF inspectors would have flunked own audit: Greek union

Greek labour union fires back at International monetary Fund and European Union who are pushing Athens to implement spending cuts

AFP , Friday 27 Jul 2012

International auditors monitoring Greece's compliance with its EU-IMF rescue programme would have failed their own evaluation, the leading Greek union said on Friday.

"Their programme has destroyed us, pushing the Greek economy into recession," said Yiannis Panagopoulos, head of private sector union GSEE, labelling the auditors "charlatans".

"If (the auditors) were civil servants and had to be evaluated, it is certain that they would have been fired," he said after meeting with the EU-IMF mission.

The auditors are poring through Greece's finances, seeking to place the country's reforms on track after a two-month electoral hiatus earlier this year.

They are also pushing the government to fulfil promises to evaluate the civil service and eliminate 150,000 state jobs by 2015.

The government is under obligation to earmark 11.6 billion euros ($14.1 billion) in spending cuts over the next two years to maintain its loan access.

The savings, to be fine-tuned by officials next week, will reportedly come from pensions, health support and benefits.

"We told them that if the measures reported in the newspapers are carried out, recession in 2013 will be over 5.5 percent and unemployment could approach 28 percent," Panagopoulos said.

GSEE, an umbrella union with some 700,000 members, has pledged to mount a "dynamic" response against the cuts.
The new coalition government that came to power in June seeks to renegotiate the terms of Greece's multi-billion bailout as soon as possible, arguing that further cuts will bring even greater recession.
The government says the economy could contract by 6.7 percent in 2012 compared to an earlier forecast of 4.5 percent, a slippage partly blamed on across-the-board pay cuts and layoffs required under the bailout.

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