Greece's state broadcaster ERT will have a budget surplus of 50 million euro in the current year and is expected to eliminate all its accumulated debts by the year 2014, the company's board chairman Thanassis Papageorgiou claimed on Wednesday. He was speaking at the 27th regular meeting of ERT's staff union POSPERT.

Papageorgiou said that all talk of downsizing ERT was without basis and noted that these proposals were not based on Eurostat reports nor took into account the official financial figures given by ERT's management.

He stressed that the licence fee levied in favour of ERT was "vital" for the broadcaster and was among the lowest in Europe, while roughly one third was directly or indirectly returned to the state.

Reporting on a cost-cutting drive within ERT, he said this focused mainly on restricting payroll spending and cutting back on waste, while there was a significant reduction in the budget for external productions.