May 30, 2012 / 11:08 AM / 5 years ago

EU ties next Greek visit to election, reform will

ATHENS, May 30 (Reuters) - The European Union turned up pressure on Greece on Wednesday, warning it must step up reforms to keep getting full bailout aid and that the date of its next inspection visit to Athens will depend on the outcome of a general election on June 17.

Greece is anxiously waiting for the visit by the so-called “troika” of EU, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank officials which is expected to unlock more bailout funds for the cash-strapped country.

The date of that inspection visit had been provisionally set for late June or early July after the election but the EU executive raised the prospect of it being delayed further if the election failed to produce a suitable coalition government.

“The date of the next review mission ... depends on the political outcome of the repeated elections,” the European Commission said in a report on Wednesday.

“The mission is provisionally scheduled to take place in late June/ early July 2012, but the date may be revised in the course of the following weeks.”

The European Commission made it clear in the report that the continuation of an international aid programme was contingent upon Athens pushing ahead with difficult reforms and on the formation of a government ready to honour the country’s debt-reduction pledges.

“Implementation risks will remain very high,” the report said. “Comprehensive international financial assistance can continue to be provided only if policy implementation improves.”

The repeat election was called earlier this month to break the deadlock between parties that support and oppose the 130-billion-euro rescue package Greece obtained in exchange for enacting tough austerity measures.

Concerns that the anti-bailout leftist SYRIZA party could win the election - it is currently running a close second in the polls behind the pro-bailout conservative New Democracy party - have sent shockwaves throughout Europe, raising fears that Greece may be obliged to leave the euro.

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