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EU to do its best to help Greece return to growth: Barroso


08:11, March 01, 2012

BRUSSELS, Feb. 29 (Xinhua) -- European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Wednesday the European Union (EU) will do its best to help Greece return to growth, and he was confident that Greece can surmount the daunting challenges.

"The Commission is fully ready to help the Greek authorities" to return to growth, Barroso said after his meeting with the Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos.

Barroso said over 20 billion euros (about 27 billion U.S. dollars) of EU's structural funding are available to Greece for the 2007-2013 period. "We have already released more than 8 billion euros in payments but there is scope for doing much more before 2013."

The president was also confident that Greece can succeed in its efforts to grow again. "Why shouldn't Greece be able to do it? Why not? I believe Greece is perfectly able to make these efforts for structural reforms," Barroso said.

The second bailout programme for Greece is not all about fiscal consolidation, but rather has a very strong focus on reforms that the EU believes will transform the capacity of the Greek economy to generate growth and jobs, the president said.

"Of course fiscal consolidation is indispensable but this is not just a programme of fiscal consolidation, it is a programme for structural reforms, competitiveness and growth in Greece."

In the meantime, Barroso warned the implementation of the program was "a huge task" that would take time for the full benefits to be felt, and "none of us underestimate the scale of the challenges or the obstacles that still lie ahead. "

"We should have no illusions: the crucial part of the solution is off course in the hands of the Greek government, the Greek administration and, at the end, the Greek people," Barroso added.


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