Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos met here on Monday with EU commissioner for economic and monetary affairs Olli Rehn, for talks on the progress in the implementation of a Greek programme and preparation for the Eurogroup meeting later in the day, at which private sector involvement in any new aid package to Greece will be discussed.
Venizelos and Rehn also discussed the technical assistance to Greece to be forthcoming from the Commission and EU member states for implementation of its fiscal consolidation programme.
Venizelos placed priority on the technical assistance for greater absorption of the National Strategic Reference Framework and EU structural funds in a more beneficial and speedier manner aiming at enhancing the clampdown on tax evasion and preparation of the new tax system that will encompass a new developmental model for Greece, and consequently will have a developmental and social dimension in addition to the taxation and fiscal dimensions.
The two men further discussed ways in which other Commission services can facilitate the smooth and speedy development of the Greek government's privatisations programme.
Meanwhile, hours later, Venizelos signed a treaty authorising the creation of the so-called European Stability Mechanism, on behalf of the Greek government. Finance ministers from other Eurozone countries signed the document before a relevant meeting.
Government calls for EU solidarity in handling public debt issues
Greek government spokesman Ilias Mosialos on Monday stressed that Greece will meet its obligations and called on Greece's EU partners to ensure that Europe was "strong, united and had solidarity".
He underlined the need for the EU to establish a new relationship with markets and develop stable mechanisms for handling public debt in its member-states, mechanisms capable of defending against pressure from speculators, promoting conditions of economic growth and allowing an exit from the crisis.
"There is no longer any margin for delays. It is a time for decisions," he emphasised, pointing to difficult and painful changes made by Greece in order to address its fiscal problems, including the envisaged changes to tertiary education, hospitals, town planning, tax collection and the ambitious privatisation programme.