Greek prime minister George Papandreou said he is pressing the EU and the IMF to hasten decisions on a second support package for Greece, warning that "the atmosphere prevailing does not help us exit the crisis" and the delay in taking decisions was putting off investors, in an exclusive interview with the Financial Times Deutschland (FTD) newspaper appearing on Thursday.
"This insecurity scares the investors. If we don't have a decision soon that the second (support) programme will safeguard Greece and that the country will be able to materialise its deep reforms, then the programme itself will be undermined," Papandreou warned.
The premier was positive on a plan by Greece's eurozone partners to buy back part of the debt from Greece itself with capital from the European Fiscal Stability Fund (EFSF) at 50 percent of the nominal value of the bonds. "We are open to all these ideas," he said, adding that "this idea could reduce for Greece the weight of the debt, and also facilitate the servicing of the debt."
According to the FTD article, Papandreou said that the matter of a partial inability of payment should be examined in detail. "Theoretically, this could last two weeks, or much longer, causing very great damage," he is quoted as saying.
Papandreou did not set out a date for Greece's return to the markets, saying it was Europe's and the IMF's turn to decide on a second bailout package for Greece. "The more decisively the message is given now that the problem is being dealt with, the quicker will we be able to return to the market," he said.
Papandreou also said that he intends to mobilise private companies in order to investigate the non payment of taxes and tax evasion in Greece.
"There are 14,000 people in Greece who, together, owe the state some 36 billion euros in taxes," the premier said, adding that the country's Finance Minister would now turn his attention to that group. "We may possibly assign that task to private companies, because it is our impression that the administrative machine cannot do it and has not proved particularly effective in this area," he said.
Acknowledging that the state machine was very bureaucratic and lacking in transparency, Papandreou noted that deep administrative reforms are need, with which existing mentalities must be radically changed.