by Robert Stevens, WSWS
Delegations from the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) arrived in Athens Thursday. The representatives of the so-called “troika” were continuing “technical talks” with Greece’s Syriza-led government which began in Brussels Wednesday on the austerity measures that are to be implemented over the coming weeks.
For the first time representatives from the European Stability Mechanism, which facilitates the EU’s loan agreements will also participate.
The talks were insisted on by finance ministers at Monday’s eurogroup meeting in Brussels and must be completed to their satisfaction before Syriza can receive any further loans to pay off billion of euros in debts that are due this month. It must pay almost €20 billion in the course of 2015. Without access to an outstanding €7.2 billion tranche of funds, conditional on existing austerity agreement being implemented in full, Greece will be forced to default on its €320 billion debt in a matter of weeks.
The Syriza government, which on February 20, signed off on a four month extension of the existing austerity programme, fraudulently claims that the deal meant the end of austerity.
In fact, it had agreed not to “unilaterally” move to implement even the limited measures it was elected on. Syriza insisted troika officials would no longer return to Athens to monitor the implementation of austerity. With this weeks’ events, these threadbare claims have been shot to pieces. The troika is not only back in Athens, but over the next weeks it will be co-ordinating with Syriza the imposition of even deeper austerity measures.
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