NEWS

Troika officials begin latest Greek inspection

The latest inspection in Greece by a team of officials representing the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, commonly known as the troika, does not appear to have got off to a great start.

The troika technical team visited the Transport Ministry on Wednesday and, according to sources, objected to continuing restrictions in the road haulage sector.

The troika apparently wants legislation that liberalizes the sector to allow road haulage companies from outside the EU to be free to compete for business in Greece.

The technical team is due to assess Greece?s progress on a number of structural reform issues ahead of the expected arrival on Friday of top EC, ECB and IMF officials. Athens is hoping they will provide a green light for further bailout funding to Greece.

On Wednesday, an IMF spokesperson said that the Fund?s executive board gave approval for staff to start official negotiations with Greece for an expanded loan program.

“The arrangement would require exceptional access under the Fund’s lending rules,» the spokeswoman told Dow Jones Newswires. «In accordance with those rules, management and staff today consulted with the Executive Board so that the mission can begin negotiations with the Greek authorities on the new arrangement,» she said.

The IMF will not agree to further funding for Greece unless it is happy that the country?s debt is sustainable, which will depend on the outcome of talks between Athens and bondholders on debt restructuring.