Greece has strong start but challenges remain: Auditors

21:55, August 05, 2010      

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Greece has made a strong start in tackling the country's severe economic crisis by implementing a Stability and Growth Program, but important challenges remain, a delegation of EU/IMF auditors said Thursday.

The auditors from the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund held a press conference Thursday after their two-week inspection visit to Greece.

The end-June quantitative performance criteria have all been met, led by vigorous implementation of the fiscal program and important reforms that is head of the schedule, the auditors said.

The European Union and the IMF have offered an aid package of 110 billion euros over a three-year period since May to Greece, with austerity measures and reforms stringed.

"I am confident EU-IMF officials in Brussels, Frankfurt and Washington will be as impressed as we are and they will also see the risks," said Poul Thomsen, a delegation member representing the IMF.

The Greek economy was expected to decline 4 percent in 2010 and 2.5 percent in 2011. Inflation is forecast to reach 4.75 percent in 2010 due to indirect taxes but will decline rapidly, they said.

Greek authorities have kept spending significantly below budget limits at the state level and the overall deficit target for end-June was met.

"Going forward it is critical to tighten expenditure control, especially at local government level, and to further strengthen efforts to reduce tax evasion by wealthy individuals," said Servaas Deroose, who represented the European Commission.
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