European Union frontman Jose Manuel Barroso was greeted warmly by Greek PM Antonis Samaras in Athens this evening despite being deployed to extract another £9.16 billion in cuts.
All the indications were that Greece will comply, with insiders reporting that a two-year cuts package had been scrabbled together by top officials prior to today’s visit by the international bailiffs.
Mr Barroso was joined in Athens by representatives from the International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank keen to engineer the Greek economy in their model in return for loans to prop up Greece and keep it within the eurozone.
In return Athens will agree to make further cuts to pension and welfare.
Health spending is believed to be one of the areas also set for more big cutbacks.
This fresh “austerity” plan comes despite Mr Samaras winning recent elections promising to renegotiate the terms of the international bailout.
The main priority for the so-called troika of the EU, IMF and ECB is to prop up the euro currency, with the current plan to keep Greece’s pro-EU rulers under the thumb.
A troika team is currently deciding whether to pour in fresh cash to keep Greece afloat.
If it plunged out of the single currency – a situation deemed increasingly likely by analysts – it would place even greater focus on Italy and Spain, which are already wobbling because of relentless speculation by financiers.
Madrid and Rome have already had to place limits on so-called short selling – effectively betting by traders on the fact that their economies will plunge.
City gambling on their fate had forced up the price they pay on the money markets to borrow cash to cover government spending.
In Spain’s case it has hit a whopping 7.5 per cent compared to rates paid by Germany and Britain of below 2 per cent.
However the fickle herds of traders started betting the other way temporarily today after loose-tongued ECB boss Mario Draghi told reporters he’d “do whatever it takes to preserve the euro.”
Stock markets rose sharply and embattled countries’ borrowing costs fell based on Mr Draghi’s pronouncement, which was later played down by the ECB.
The Greek people weren’t available for comment.