NEWS

Greece accuses troika of interfering in domestic matters

The Greek government has responded to Friday?s assessment from representatives of the International Monetary Fund, European Commission and European Central Bank ? collectively known as the troika ? by accusing its creditors of ?unacceptable? behavior and interfering in Greek affairs.

In approving the fourth tranche of Greece?s emergency loan package, worth 15 billion euros, the troika warned that Athens would have to speed up its reforms and to sell 50 billion euros worth of state assets, including public property.

It appears that this last suggestion in particular has angered the Greek government.

?The behavior of the representatives of the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank during Friday?s news conference was unacceptable,? said government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis in a statement. ?We asked for their help and in return we have kept to the letter in all the pledges we made.

?However, we did not ask anyone to intervene in our country?s domestic affairs. Everyone has to be aware of their role and this is something that we will make clear to our partners.?

Greece turned to the troika last May for 110 bullion euros in emergency loans to avoid bankruptcy. But in order to qualify for the loans, the government had to agree to a raft of structural reforms.

?We are in need but we also have limits,? said Petalotis. ?We are not willing to negotiate the limits of our self-respect with anyone. We only accept orders from the Greek people.

?The government has repeatedly said that Greece needs to seek to exploit its public property commercially so that this can help achieve growth and reduce our debt. We have made specific statements and have drawn up detailed plans over a number of years.

?It is clear that the commercial exploitation of state property does not include the sale of Greek public land. It is also clear that only the Greek government can take such decisions.?

New Democracy responded to the government?s statement by accusing it of being insincere and of ?fooling? the Greek people.

?It is too late for crocodile tears,? said ND?s spokesman Yiannis Michelakis. He called for Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou to resign.