Italy's Enrico Letta with France's Francois Hollande earlier this month (Photo: Reuters)
Italy\'s Enrico Letta with France\'s Francois Hollande earlier this month (Photo: Reuters)

Italy's Prime Minister Enrico Letta has slammed Europe for the handling of Greece's near-quarter of a trillion euro rescue package by saying that the bloc made some 'serious mistakes'.

During a joint news conference with his Greek counterpart Antonis Samaras, Letta told reporters that Europe has been instrumental in prolonging the country's sixth consecutive year of recession despite stumping up €240bn (£207bn, $314bn) in bailout cash.

"There is no doubt that serious mistakes were made about Greece by Europe in the past few years," said Letta.

"The timing was wrong. The instruments were wrong. The interventions were not made in the right way and at the right time and this worsened the crisis.

"The crisis would have been different. It would have created less of a financial disaster; it would have led to fewer job losses across Europe, if Europe's attitude to Greece had been different at the beginning."

The strong opposition comes only a week after the European Commission's vice-president, Viviane Reding, called for dispansion of the Troika - the three-pronged group which manages the emergency bailouts of European states, comprising the International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Union (EU) and European Central Bank (ECB).

At a "citizen's dialogue event" in Heidelberg in southwest Germany, Reding said that "the time of the Troika is over" while suggesting that the influence of the IMF was no longer helpful or appropriate.

Greece in Crisis

Greece is the worst suffering country in the eurozone, following the sovereign debt crisis in 2010, as it still teeters on the brink of collapse.

While the country has secured tranches of much-needed rescue money it has to continually prove that it is able to manage its debt, by slashing public sector spending while raising taxes, under its bailout conditions with its creditors.

At the beginning of this month, the EU and IMF decided to drip feed Greece only €6.8bn, so it can repay €2.2bn of bonds in August this year, but stopped short of granting the full €8.1bn.

Eurozone chiefs said that Greece has to keep its promises on cutting public sector jobs and other reforms in order to get the entire tranche after it missed a raft of deadlines.

Immediately after the creditors' decision, Greece's two-party coalition scraped through a vote in parliament to axe or transfer 25,000 public sector workers.

The country has the worst unemployment rates in Europe and over 60% of the country's youth are jobless. Groups say that Greece is also set to lose another 195,000 private sector jobs as the government's strict austerity measures will cause thousands of businesses to close.