Greece strives for deal with lenders, IMF hard on reforms
ATHENS – Greece intends to meet debt payments this month and reach a deal with its international lenders to unlock remaining bailout aid but the International Monetary Fund insists on tough labour reforms, the country’s labour minister said on Monday.
Struggling amid a cash crunch, Athens faces debt repayments to the IMF totalling nearly 1.0 billion euros (0.74 billion pounds) this month and has been borrowing from municipalities and government entities to meet obligations.
Asked whether it will be in a position to make the IMF payment, Labour Minister Panos Skourletis told Mega TV: “The country has chosen to pay its obligations and reach an agreement (with lenders). We are trying to have the money.”
Skourletis said the IMF was unyielding on its demands for labour reforms, including pensions cuts, mass layoffs and resisting raising the minimum wage.
“They (IMF) are asking us to not touch anything (from the austerity measures) that have ruined Greek people’s lives in the last five years,” he said. –Reuters