The European Commission is strengthening its task force, which was established one year ago in Athens, by sending an additional group of 100 experts to raise the EU personnel serving in the Greek capital to 140.
More than 40 of these 'advisers' will be working in the 20 Greek ministries and the rest will be established in central Athens in a building rented for 12 years.
This long-term tenancy contract was reported by the prestigious Athens economic and business daily Naftemporiki – head of the task force is Horst Reichenbach, a German ex-EBRD vice president, who has been personally appointed to this new post by European Commission President José Manuel Barroso.
The troika is to provide 'technical' assistance to Greece – to this end, it will work closely with the Greek authorities and other member states to co-ordinate the technical assistance that Greece may need in order to be able to deliver programmes worked out with the EU and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The IMF has its own people in Athens working in office infrastructure that is provided by the Central Bank of Greece, within its own building in the centre of the city.
The second Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed recently between Greece and the troika contains details of all the major policies to be followed by the Greeks, not only regarding the economy but also how the state machine functions.
With this 12-year rent contract of an entire building in the heart of Athens, the troika will be a regular feature in Greek politics and the economy for a long time.
Whatever is the outcome of the next election, which is set for 29 April or the first Sunday in May, the new government will have very restricted manoeuvring space, given that the MoU contains all the details of the mainstream economic policies and crucial decisions to restructure how things work in the Greek economy – deregulation will be the name of the game on all fronts, be it labour, public services and product markets, tax and social-security legislation or the licensing system and authorities’ control of the productive apparatus.