EU and IMF auditors to visit Athens as Greece’s agony continues

The drive to put Greece back on the road to recovery intensifies this week when auditors representing the indebted country’s creditors arrive in Athens for their latest review of the Greek economy.

Fourteen months after being bailed out to the tune of €86bn (£77bn) – Greece’s third financial rescue since 2010 – representatives of the EU and the International Monetary Fund fly in on Monday to review progress on economic reforms promised by the government in exchange for rescue funds.

The creditors’ visit is taking place against a backdrop of ongoing economic difficulty for the nation. Seven years into its worst slump in post-war history, the eurozone’s weakest link is saddled with anaemic growth, stubbornly high unemployment, poor export growth, consumer pessimism and debt of more than €330bn.

The Bruegel Institute, the Brussels-based economics thinktank, warned last week that Athens would need a fourth bailout when its current lifeline ends in 2018. “Greece will not be able to borrow from the markets,” said Zsolt Darvas, a senior economist at the institute. “Therefore there will be a fourth financial assistance programme.”