Monday, September 24, 2012

Troika Nearly Doubles Estimate of Greek Shortfall

September 24, 2012

Greece's budget shortfall now totals 20 billion euros, according to preliminary estimates by international lenders, SPIEGEL has learned. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has asked public-sector creditors to forgive some debt. Meanwhile, Berlin and the European Commission are divided over when the decision on Greece's fate should be taken.

The Greek government's budget deficit is bigger than expected and currently amounts to some €20 billion ($26 billion), according to preliminary estimates by the so-called troika made up of the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund, SPIEGEL has learned. The figure is almost double previous estimates.

The next tranche of EU aid can only be paid out to Greece when that budget gap has been closed. The government of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is believed to have made several requests for government creditors to forgo debt repayments. He is also hoping that lenders will give his government two years longer to fulfill his austerity program. In that case, Greece would probably require an additional €20 billion in aid.

Meanwhile a row has erupted between the German government and the European Commission over when the decision will be taken on whether Greece will get any fresh money at all.

The Commission wants a decision to be reached at the next EU summit on Oct. 18-19. But Berlin says there won't be reliable figures available until November at the earliest.


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