Troika seeks 150 new Greek reforms: Report

AFP, Sunday 28 Oct 2012

Additional reforms demanded by Greece's international auditors include a loosening of hiring-and-firing laws and changes to minimum wages

International auditors will demand that Greece carry out a further 150 reforms to its recession-battered economy, as it teeters on the edge of bankruptcy, German newsweekly Spiegel reported Sunday.

Citing an interim version of the findings of the troika of creditors, Spiegel said Athens would get an extra two years to carry out the reforms in its programme but this delay would cost billions of euros.
Greece has completed 60 per cent of the reforms already demanded of it, the report says, according to Spiegel. A further 20 per cent are being debated by the Greek government, the rest are outstanding.
Among the additional reforms demanded are a loosening of the hiring-and-firing laws, changes to the minimum wage rules and a lifting of certain professional privileges, Spiegel said.
The report also suggests that creditors including other eurozone countries take a 'haircut' or write-off, on some of their holdings of Greek debt, meaning taxpayers would be funding the bailout.
The European Central Bank would not write off its holding of Greek debt because this would amount to financing Greece which is strictly forbidden, Spiegel reported.
However, the ECB -- which is part of the troika along with the International Monetary Fund and the EU -- is prepared to forgo profits on its Greek debt holding, the weekly said.
Greece needs to persuade the troika it has made enough progress in reforms and painful austerity cuts to unlock a 31.5-billion-euro slice of aid needed to stave off bankruptcy.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has said Greece's coffers will be empty in mid-November. Spiegel said the long-awaited report would be published on 12 November at the latest.
Creditors differ on how much the two-year delay would cost, with the EU and ECB estimating 30 billion euros and the IMF 38 billion euros, Spiegel said.
In order to ensure reforms are carried out, further tranches should be stored in a frozen account and released when changes have been implemented, Spiegel said.
Changes would also be made to the budgetary laws in Greece, meaning, for example, that taxes would automatically rise if reforms are not implemented when required, the newsweekly reported.
The interim report was presented to officials in Brussels on Thursday who are preparing the next meeting of eurozone finance ministers, expected to take place by teleconference on Wednesday.
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