Greek Minister: Greece to use the EU-IMF safety net if necessary

09:13, April 21, 2010      

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Greece will use a safety net created by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund to financially support European economies if it is necessary, Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou said Tuesday.

“The talks regarding the function of this mechanism will not necessarily conclude in a deal,” Papaconstantinou said at a press conference held ahead of the arrival on Wednesday of a new team of EU-IMF experts.

Amid scenarios that a request by Athens on the activation of the mechanism was imminent, the EU-IMF delegation will hold talks with Greek officials over the next two weeks concerning details of the safety net Greece could use to escape its severe debt crisis.

A series of EU and IMF auditors have visited Greece over the past five months for talks on reforms needed to put the country's finances in order.

Papaconstantinou said there are no plans for additional austerity measures in Greece during the current year.

“We will not implement new measures, even if the data on the Greek budget deficit change," he said. "We have already introduced bold initiatives. What we discuss is the details of fiscal policies for the next two years."

If Greece does request activation of the safety net mechanism, the procedures will move quickly, Papaconstantinou said.

Greek bonds remain at high levels in international markets due to a lack of clarity about the safety net,“unrealistic” fears about the short- term dynamic of the Greek debt and“the fact that some people still earn money from this situation," the prime minister said.

Based on early results of fiscal figures for the first three months of 2010, Papaconstantinou expressed optimism that all targets set in the budget will be met and the most pessimistic scenarios regarding the growth of the Greek economy will not come true.

As for the targets of the Greek government in the next six months regarding the economy, Papaconstantinou said that the focus will be on the privatization of state controlled companies, the opening of closed professions and markets, and a new framework for fiscal management.

Source: Xinhua


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