The troika. Two words that have long struck fear into the hearts of those opposed to austerity, but perhaps, in Greece no longer.
The European Central Bank, the European Commission, and the International Monetary Fund have often descended on Greece since it received its first bailout in 2010. But Greece is under new management, and the coalition headed by Alexis Tsipras is staunchly anti-austerity.
Greece’s finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis¸ has promised not to give in to the troika and to stand his ground over election pledges to seek an extension to Greece’s €240bn (£180bn) bail out. Varoufakis, an established economist, said his country had rejected austerity at the polls when it voted for the far-left Syriza party and he would not chase more negotiations with the troika.
Our first action as a government will not be to reject the rationale of questioning this programme through a request to extend it.
We respect institutions but we don’t plan to cooperate with that committee.
Jeroen Dijsselbloem¸president of the Eurogroup, a meeting of Eurozone finance minister, wasn’t budging either. He said that Greece must stick to the programme it had started and not lose the ground already made up.
Greece’s economy is in a dire condition. Unemployment is 25.8 per cent and its GDP is growing too slowly at 1.9 per cent annually to drag it back from the brink.