July 19, 2012
The International Monetary Fund's mission chief for Greece, Poul Thomsen, walked grim-faced into his first meeting with newly elected Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on July 5 wearing a black tie looking as if he was going to a funeral.
Whether he was making a point or not, the first meet-and-greet visit by Greece's exasperated international lenders with the new government was blunt, both sides told Reuters.
"Talking to them was like going to a doctor, who is looking over your tests shaking his head, and you're wondering if you are going to live or die," a senior Greek government official told Reuters, on condition of anonymity, after the visit.
Now, the same Greek officials are preparing for a new and crucial round of talks starting next week.
For three days earlier this month, senior inspectors from the troika of the International Monetary Fund, European Commission and European Central Bank rushed in and out of ministers' offices with their heads down, clutching files and avoiding reporters.