Greece complains to IMF, EU over "unacceptable" tone of auditors

11:31, February 13, 2011      

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Greece on Saturday lodged complaints with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Union (EU) over the "unacceptable" tone and suggestions of their auditors overseeing the country's efforts to reform its economy.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou held a phone conversation with IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn to protest the behavior of the IMF and EU inspectors at a press conference on Friday, according to statements by the prime minister's office and a government spokesperson.

At the press conference, the IMF and EU auditors urged the Greek government to speed up structural reforms in the public sector in the next few months and accelerate a privatization program for raising 50 billion euros (67.6 billion U.S. dollars) by 2015.

The Greek government's medium-term budget strategy will define time-bound actions to realize the full fiscal adjustment through 2014. Greek officials said a few months ago that the target was to raise 7 billion euros (9.47 billion dollars) by 2014.

The suggestions and the tone of the inspectors at the press conference enraged main opposition parties and also drew strong reactions from Greek media and the government.

"The Greek Premier expressed to Dominique Strauss-Kahn the strong discontent of the government regarding the unacceptable behavior of EU-IMF auditors," the Prime Minister's office said in its statement.

It added that Papandreou also held a telephone conversation with Olli Rehn, the European Commissioner responsible for Economic and Monetary Affairs, over the issue.

"Strauss-Kahn expressed his understanding for the spirit of the prime minister's remarks and his respect toward the Greek government and the Greek people," the statement said.

According to Greek media, Papandreou will hold similar telephone contacts in the following hours with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet.

Earlier on Saturday, Greek government spokesperson George Petalotis also criticized the auditors, calling their remarks and behaviors an unacceptable interference in his country's domestic policies, stressing that "the Greek government takes orders only from the Greek people."

Greece is working on a harsh austerity and reform program in efforts to bring the cash-strapped country back to growth by 2014. Greece's economy is under strict supervision after it narrowly escaped bankruptcy last May.Since then it has been financially supported by EU partners and the IMF in exchange for austerity measures and reforms.

Source: Xinhua
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