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Greece Urges IMF to Return 'to Reality' on Bailout Ahead of Eurogroup Meeting

© REUTERS / Kim Kyung-HoonVisitors are silhouetted against the logo of the International Monetary Fund at the main venue for the IMF and World Bank annual meeting in Tokyo in this October 10, 2012 file photo.
Visitors are silhouetted against the logo of the International Monetary Fund at the main venue for the IMF and World Bank annual meeting in Tokyo in this October 10, 2012 file photo. - Sputnik International
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Greece urges the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to change its assessment of the Greek economy to account for the recent improvements and help the country achieve an initial bailout review agreement by February 20, government spokesman Dimitris Tsanakopulos said Thursday.

ATHENS (Sputnik) — Earlier this month, the IMF published a long-awaited annual Article IV review of the Greek bailout. The fund said that Greece's debt levels remained unsustainable and further pension cuts and tax increases were needed alongside lower budget surplus targets and more financial relief. The report came ahead of the upcoming February 20 Eurogroup meeting which may see a staff level assessment of Greece's austerity program implementation.

"The key to a positive development in the Eurogroup's [second bailout review staff level assessment] on February 20 is for the IMF and the German Finance Ministry to return to reality. In particular, we expect the IMF to account for real up-to-date data on the Greek economy and change it future forecast based on these," Tsanakopulos said at a briefing.

The government wants to secure further bailout installments without any more austerity measures that have not been agreed on as part of the third bailout package, he added.

In 2015, when Greek voters rejected the terms of a previous bailout in a referendum, he proposed Athens take a "temporary break" from Eurozone membership. Chancellor Angela Merkel overruled her finance minister, and agreed a €86 billion (US$91bn) rescue package after Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras accepted the tough terms.

Athens must pay €7 billion (US$7,42bn) to the European Central Bank in July — to do so, it needs the next instalment of Eurozone rescue loans.  

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