In EU lingo, the term “Troika” has long meant the exercise of coordination among the rotating presidencies of the EU. In the revised vernacular, the three steeds pulling the great European chariot are now the European Commission, the ECB and the FMI. The principal task of these warhorses is to dissect (sic) the public books. They can also exercise their right to inspect the accounts of bankers who have difficulty gaining access to funding.
Cyprus, President of the EU in the second semester of 2012 (see Folio 61 and Foliom@il 148), followed in the footsteps of four other EU countries by appealing for international financial aid. The verdict: €1 billion in spending reductions by 2015 (slightly more than 5% of GDP), with budgetary targets imposed. The Troika also demands a 15% cut in civil servants’ salaries (their Greek counterparts have seen salaries drop 30%), and most importantly severe cuts in social services in general, and retirement pensions in particular. Such measures contrast substantially with the stated priorities of the EU Presidency.
Indeed, the subject of the 38th Ipse Meeting, “Social Protection: between discipline and new developments,” is more than a hot topic!