ATHENS, Greece - An occupation of the Transport Ministry by protesting civil servants Friday forced Greece's international debt inspectors to reschedule their meeting with the minister, with whom they were to discuss reforms including new licensing laws for taxis.
Minister Yannis Ragoussis's morning meeting was delayed to the evening after the debt inspectors, collectively known as the troika, arrived to find the building under occupation and protesting employees in the courtyard.
A similar meeting Thursday with Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos was moved to a different government building in central Athens due to an occupation of that ministry. Protesting employees continued their occupation on Friday morning, guarding the entrance where the words "They shall not pass" had been spray-painted across drawn-down metal shutters.
The inspectors from the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank and European Commission returned to Athens this week after suspending their review earlier this month over missed targets and delayed implementation of reforms. Their approval is critical for Greece to receive the next €8 billion installment of its €110 billion ($150 billion) bailout loan package agreed on last year.
Without the next batch of loans, Greece has said it only has enough funds to last it through mid-October, after which it will be unable to pay salaries and pensions.
Mired in a deep recession and faced with growing anger on the streets, the government has been unable to meet all the targets set out in its bailout agreement. Other European countries, faced with the possibility of a messy Greek default that would drag down their common currency and cause significant problems for their banks, approved a second, €109 billion bailout for Greece on July 21. But the details of the deal remain to be finalized, and some have suggested the plan needs to be reworked.