EU-IMF experts voice satisfaction on Greece's reform progress

08:18, June 18, 2010      

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A joint group of experts from the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund voiced satisfaction on Thursday on the implementation of fiscal discipline policies, austerity measures and reforms introduced by the Greek government.

Greece is on the right path to fix its finances over a three- year period, according to the deal achieved in May with the EU partners and the IMF to financially assist Athens, representatives of the experts stressed during a press conference in the Greek capital.

As they winded up four-day talks with Greek officials, on Thursday they held one more meeting with Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou and Labor Minister Andreas Loverdos on the budget deficit and the reform of the social security and pension system.

Scenarios that Greece has not evaded yet the threat of default insist in certain foreign media. But the EU-IMF experts said that the data they examined over the last few days, point to a positive direction. The deficit has dropped even lower than initial estimations and policies are implemented as agreed, the experts said.

The Greek government has pledged to cut the budget deficit that now stands at 13.6 percent of GDP to 8.1 percent by 2011 and less than 3 percent by 2014.

The EU-IMF team of experts said that contraction of the GDP could eventually be less than the 4 percent feared for this year, but expressed concern of the high inflation.

The group will return to Athens in late July for one more round of audits, before writing a report that will be decisive for the release of the next tranches of low interest loans to Greece. Athens received a first sum of financial assistance last month to meet urgent financing obligations.

The structural reforms are also on the right track, including the reform of the pension system, privatization of state companies and changes in labor market, according to the experts.

In regards to the economic policy, the experts voiced satisfaction on the creation of a fund to support the financial and banking sector, noting that liquidity is adequate.

Source: Xinhua


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