Some rare good news out of Greece today, as a review panel made up of staffers from the IMF , the EU , and the European Central Bank gave a tentative thumbs-up to the country's economic reform efforts. As part of the IMF/EU relief program, Greece will be going through quarterly review processes. The panel's visit was the first such review, and, according to the IMF press release, "the overall assessment is that the program has made a strong start." In the fiscal area , the authorities have kept spending significantly below budget limits at the state level. This has offset slippages caused by problems in controlling expenditures at the sub-national level (local governments, hospitals, social security funds), and the overall deficit target for end-June was met. Going forward, to address potential risks to fiscal targets, it is critical to tighten expenditure control and monitoring, in particular at sub-national levels. Another key challenge is to further strengthen tax administration, including to reduce tax evasion by high-income and wealthy individuals. This is essential to secure tax revenues and to promote the overall fairness of the adjustment program. In the financial sector , there has been a moderate deterioration in capital adequacy as nonperforming loans have increased in line with expectations. Recently, the CEBS stress tests covered more than 90 percent of Greek banking system assets and all but one state-owned bank passed, thus helping to reduce market volatility. We welcome that the government has commissioned a strategic review for the banking sector and a due diligence for state banks. The Financial Stability Fund (FSF), which is soon to become operational, will provide an important backstop to deal with potential capital shortfalls. In our view, the 10 billion euro earmarked for the FSF under the program remains adequate. Continued close monitoring of the financial sector will be important in the period ahead. Impressive progress is being made on structural reforms . The mission welcomes Parliament's approval of the landmark pension reform, which is far-reaching by international standards. Substantive labor market reform is also well underway. Implementation of recent tax reform and budget reform is key in order to consolidate fiscal consolidation. Other reforms that are scheduled for early implementation are transportation, where important progress has already been made with liberalization of road haulage, and energy. Restoring competitiveness and boosting potential growth remains critical to the program's success. The challenge facing the government in this regard will be to overcome resistance from entrenched vested interests to opening-up of closed professions, deregulation, implementation of the services directive, and elimination of barriers to development of tourism and retail. Read the release here .