Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Athens raids public health coffers in hunt for cash

Financial Times
March 24, 2015

Greece’s government has raided the coffers of its public health service and the Athens metro as it widens a hunt for funds to keep itself afloat and service debts.

Athens faces a €1.7bn bill for wages and pensions at the end of the month and then a €450m loan payment to the International Monetary Fund on April 9. Greek government and eurozone officials believe Athens does not have funds to cover both.

In another constraint on Greece’s ability to raise cash, the European Central Bank decided to impose stricter curbs on the issuance of short-term government debt.

EU officials expressed hope that a marathon Monday night meeting between Alexis Tsipras, the Greek prime minister, and his German counterpart, chancellor Angela Merkel, would spark long-stalled talks over economic reforms Greece must implement to unlock €7.2bn in frozen bailout aid.

Athens has promised to deliver a list of reforms to eurozone authorities by Monday. But officials cautioned that the list would still have to be agreed with bailout inspectors before eurozone authorities could make progress on any deal to free up new funding.


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