Juncker: Greece must agree reforms09/10/2012 - 07:13:04
Greece and its international lenders need to agree quickly on a programme of reforms so the next tranche of bailout loans can be released, the head of the group finance ministers from the 17 countries that use the euro said.
Inspectors for the so-called troika – the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission – are in Greece looking for ways to reduce the country’s debt.
Athens needs more money soon to avoid defaulting on its obligations.
Greece has depended on bailouts from Europe and the IMF since May 2010. To get the loans, it has implemented a series of deep budget cuts and tax hikes, while increasing retirement ages and facilitating private sector layoffs.
However, Athens must pass further austerity measures worth €13.5bn over the next two years to qualify for its next rescue loan payment – without which the government will run out of cash next month.
It is these cuts and tax enforcement measures that Greece and the troika are negotiating.
Jean-Claude Juncker, the eurogroup chief, speaking to reporters in Luxembourg after a meeting of the finance ministers of the euro countries, praised Greek officials and their willingness to do what is necessary for the country and its economy. He said a report from representatives of the troika was largely positive.
“We were happy to learn that substantial progress has been made over the last weeks – and, mainly, days,” Mr Juncker said.
“We called on the troika to finalise their negotiations and agree on a complete set of measures to close the fiscal gap for 2013 and 2014 as soon as possible.”
Mr Juncker and IMF chief Christine Lagarde emphasised that it is still necessary for Greece to fully implement all the measures it agreed to in March - by October 18, at the latest, Mr Juncker said – for the next slice of aid to be released.
more stories like this:
- once per day, no spam.