No new memorandum between Greece, EU-IMF nor new austerity measures: Greek minister

09:11, August 06, 2010      

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There is no new memorandum discussed between the Greek government and European Union- International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials, nor new austerity measures on the way, said Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou in Athens on Thursday.

"The first review of the Greek Stability and Growth program to overcome the economic crisis is absolutely positive and the next tranche of financial aid from EU-IMF this September is secured," stressed Papaconstantinou.

In May Athens secured a 110-billion-euro (144.8 billion U.S. dollars) financial support from EU and IMF by 2014 to slash a significant budget deficit which stands at 13.6 percent of GDP this year and face a debt crisis that fueled fears of instability across the eurozone.

The first phase of the implementation of the program is over, Athens is within targets and timetables set, Papaconstantinou said during a press conference on the course of Greek national economy and the outcome of the latest round of talks with a visiting group of auditors of the European Commission, the European Central Bank (ECB) and IMF.

Efforts that focus on fiscal discipline and major structural reforms will be stepped up, he added in the media briefing which was held in the ministry building on Thursday afternoon with a two- hour delay due to a bomb scare which proved to be a hoax.

In a separate press conference held earlier in Athens the troika experts who just finished a first quarterly review of the Greek program to exit the crisis, expressed satisfaction with the steps made so far, suggesting more attention to revenues collection, liberalization of professions and markets and supporting the banking sector in autumn.

Regarding the issue of the Greek banking system Papaconstantinou announced that the Greek state will guarantee further 25 billion euros (33.03 billion U.S. dollars) for Greek banks, so that they can get more loans from the European Central Bank.

The decision was reached in accordance with the troika experts in the framework of efforts to solve the capital adequacy issue of Greek banks and eventually support real economy in Greece, he stressed. Greek state has already pledged to support the Greek banking sector with 30 billion euros (39.6 billion U.S. dollars) this year.

The auditors will submit their report to officials in European Commission, ECB and IMF headquarters by early September, when EU and IMF officials will reach a decision regarding the release of the next installment of the EU-IMF financial aid to Athens on Sept. 13-15 noted Papaconstantinou.

The delegation of troika experts will return to Athens in September for unofficial meetings with Greek government officials and will be back this October for the second progress report upon which will depend the release of the next tranche of billions of euros in aid to Athens.

"We have proved doomsayers wrong again and again over the past six months. We did not default, we received the support package from EU-IMF, we already got the first installment and now we will get the second," said Papaconstantinou, voicing optimism on the short-term and long-term future of Greek national economy.

In the fiscal area, as troika experts, the Greek government recognizes that stricter controls to keep state spending low and increase tax revenues are needed.

On structural reforms Greek authorities will focus on strengthening the fight against tax evasion and restructuring local government services and state utility companies, such as Greek Railways and Greek Electricity Company. Greek officials also intend to speed up the opening up of closed markets and professions, boost competitiveness and the local banking system.

Source: Xinhua


(Editor:张茜)

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