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Greece Blasts EU, IMF


A traffic policeman tries to stop public transport employees as they ride on motorcycles during a protest in Athens, Feb 11, 2011

A traffic policeman tries to stop public transport employees as they ride on motorcycles during a protest in Athens, Feb 11, 2011

Greece has criticized inspectors from the International Monetary Fund and European Union for comments made about the nations' economic situation.

Government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis told reporters early Saturday that the comments were unacceptable and amounted to interference into Greece's domestic affairs.

Inspectors from the EU, IMF and the European Central Bank (ECB) were in Greece Friday to assess the nation's efforts to reform its economy following a $145-billion emergency loan last year. The inspectors said Greece needs to privatize or, sell off, $68 billion in state assets and speed up reforms to keep its recovery on track.

An IMF inspector also said that some of the groups holding street protests against the economic reforms - such as truck drivers and pharmacists - were simply angry about the prospect of losing what the inspector called "unfair advantages and privileges."

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou also issued a statement Saturday saying he has expressed his dismay about the comments in a phone call with IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

Spokesman Petalotis said Saturday that while Greece is in need, it also has its limits. He said the Greek government only takes orders from the people of Greece and that no state land would be sold.

In an effort to meet the terms of the EU and IMF emergency bailout, Greek lawmakers last year approved a 2011 budget with new austerity measures that include cuts in health and defense spending, along with pension freezes and higher taxes.

Thousands of workers have taken to the streets since the budget passed to protest wage cuts and other planned austerity measures.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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