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Greece

Greek austerity plan meets reservations from troika

After international lenders reviewed Greece's austerity plans in exchange for bailout funds, a source close to the talks says there is still "a long way to go" before the troika signs off on the deal.

The meeting on Sunday between Greek government officials and representatives from the European Union, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund did not yield any concrete signs that Greece was any closer to getting the next installment of loans designed to stave off bankruptcy.

Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras had presented the troika of lenders with plans for 11.5 billion euros ($14.7 billion) in savings over the next two years. However, there have been reports that the lenders objected to some parts of Greece's plans because they were not yet sufficiently defined.

"The troika has not accepted all the measures, but we have alternative proposals," said Socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos. His party is one of three that makes up Greece's ruling coalition.

The Greek newspaper Kathimerini quoted a source from the finance ministry that said "this is just the start, there is a long way to go."

According to the source, the troika has reservations that Greece will be able to sufficiently carry out measures to crack down on tax evasion, which is part of the savings package.

Round-the-clock in Athens

The head of the IMF's team in Greece, Poul Thomsen (pictured above) said that the two sides had a "good meeting." He added that they were working "day and night" on reviewing Athens' austerity measures.

Meanwhile, as the troika weighs approval for the measures, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras met with his coalition partners on Sunday to try and work out the political approval of the austerity cuts, which have still yet to be finalized.

On Monday, Samaras will hold a meeting with the troika and is expected to meet with his coalition partners again on Wednesday to further discuss the cuts.

The troika officials are scheduled to meet with Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, on Tuesday.

International lenders, markets, and other European governments are waiting to hear the troika's assessment of Greece's plans before making final decisions on continuing to supply Athens with the crucial bailout money. The troika's final report is expected later this month or in early October.

Without the money, Greece is threatened with defaulting on its debt, which could see it leave the eurozone.

mz/jm (dpa, AFP, Reuters)