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Politics: PM: Greece discussing loan repayment extension, not debt restructure

Δημοσίευση 31 Ιανουαρίου 2011, 10:41 / Ανανεώθηκε 27 Ιουνίου 2013, 14:55
Politics: PM: Greece discussing loan repayment  extension, not debt restructure
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Prime minister George Papandreou stressed his government's determination to implement its program for the needed reforms and changes in Greece, as well as its efforts to achieve an extension for repayment of the country's EU-IMF support mechanism loan, while at the same time ruling out a restructuring of the Greek debt, in an interview with the Austrian newspaper Die Presse appearing Saturday

Prime minister George Papandreou stressed his government's determination to implement its program for the needed reforms and changes in Greece, as well as its efforts to achieve an extension for repayment of the country's EU-IMF support mechanism loan, while at the same time ruling out a restructuring of the Greek debt, in an interview with the Austrian newspaper Die Presse appearing Saturday

Papandreou further ruled out early general elections in Greece, stressing that elections will be held in 2013 at the end of the present term of office.

Noting that the government's program needs to be implemented, the premier clarified that even if Greece had a zero debt, the reforms and changes would have been needed, since the system was not sustainable and competitive, there was a lack of transparency, and little had been invested in the sectors in which Greece has a competitive edge such as tourism, green technologies and innovation.

On the loan repayment timetable over the next years, Papandreou stressed that debt restructuring is not an option for Greece, which has said that having more time to repay its debt would be helpful.

The premier said that the longer repayment period for the loan should be more or less the same with that given to Ireland, since Greece was given a short period of time and thus the markets believe it will be difficult for the country to be able to repay such a large amount in just 4-5 years.

He pointed out that it would be much easier on Greece if the same criteria were applied as for Ireland, which would calm the markets and critics, adding that the eurozone finance ministers have taken a relevant decision which, however, has not yet been applied.

Questioned on the root problems, Papandreou pointed to a big black economy and tax evasion, compounded by wasteful spending of public money.

Despite the negative growth of the past year, revenues from taxes have risen by 10 percent, and this indicates that the Greek economy still has a field for action, and that in tandem with clamping down on tax evasion there can also be a reduction in taxes, with achievement of higher revenues, Papandreou noted.

He reiterated that the austerity program, as painful as it was, must be adhered to, stressing that the crisis must be utilised to solve some of the structural problems, while at the same time serving as an opportunity for a change in the structures in Europe.

Asked whether early general elections will be held in Greece, given that some observers believe that a debt restructure would follow early elections, Papandreou stressed that elections will take place in 2013.