17:43 GMT +321 October 2018
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    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.

    EU, IMF Teams Return to Athens for Tuesday Talks on Greek Austerity Reforms

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    Greece’s creditors have sent their missions back to Athens ahead of a second review of its austerity reforms program that would unlock further bailout money for the debt-ridden nation.

    ATHENS (Sputnik) Athens needs its budget changes to be approved by teams of EU lenders and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which it hopes will be done by March 20.

    A number of tranches have been unlocked in 2016 after a successful Eurogroup review of Greece's fiscal and labor market reforms, but further disbursements depend on the stalling second evaluation.

    EU and IMF negotiators have been unable to agree a deal with Athens on a legislative package that requires it to cut pensions and set a lower threshold for income tax, measures that IMF insists on.

    With the next big debt repayment of $7.4 billion due in July, there is currently no urgency for Greece to secure a new batch of financial assistance. It argues Greek pensioners are already struggling to make ends meet and has continuously refused to make deeper cuts to budget financing of social welfare programs.

    In its turn, the IMF has refused to invest in the third bailout program for Greece, saying the cash-strapped economy could never meet the budget surplus target of 3.5 percent.

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    European Union, International Monetary Fund, Greece
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