Greek finance minister Evangelos Venizelos said late Sunday that the measures taken by the Greek government have created a "very positive impression" and noted that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has already issued an announcement on the return of the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and IMF troika to Greece in the next few days, in a statement after meeting in Washington earlier in the day with IMF managing director Christine Lagarde and ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet.
Venizelos said that "the difficult and tough measures we have taken, the measures were decided by the government and are backed by the (ruling) PASOK parliamentary group, have created a very positive impression, because everyone has been convinced that Greece perceives the situation, wants to protect itself, wants to break the vicious circle, and wants to exit from this condition of reduced fiscal sovereignty that hurts the pride of the Greeks".
"This, therefore, helps us very much in our contacts and negotiations. That was also the basis of the discussions I had with Ms. Lagarde at the IMF and with Mr. Trichet. In fact, we had the opportunity to meet the three of us together, without assistants, for a discussion that was very interesting and very significant. What is important, then, is that we are moving ahead normally," Venizelos said.
"Already, the IMF has issued an announcement on the return of the troika in the following days. The issue, namely how we will meet the 2011 and 2012 fiscal targets, has already been discussed in substance. We are also completing the discussion for the following two years -- 2013 and 2014. These are of very great importance for the full implementation of the programme so that the country will return as an equal once again to the European international market," the Greek finance minister added.
"If I didn't have on my mind the sacrifices the Greek people are called on to make, the hardships faced by households and businesses, if I didn't have on my mind the very heavy climate that exists in Greece because we are going through a very big national crisis and are in a delicate and dangerous phase, I could say that I am optimistic, that a climate was formulated here that is clearly better than the climate that existed in Poland (informal eurogroup meeting) a few days ago," Venizelos continued, adding that "all the major factors of the international economy -- the United States, the European Union, but also representatives of other countries with whom I have discussed such as, for example, the finance minister of India or the Governor of the Bank of China -- realise who necessary it is that we all act in a coordinated fashion -- and Greece, as a member of the eurozone, also plays a role in the international economy -- that we take initiatives so as to halt the recycling of the crisis, which has already been going on for our whole years".
"Therefore, the Greek people should know that their very big sacrifices can safeguard the country and protect incomes, properties and prospects, in other words that we will not lose more and that in a visible time frame we will repair the damage that the country has suffered due to our own responsibility, and naturally the political responsibilities being first in line," the finance minister added.
Venizelos stressed that it is of very great importance that "we proceed firmly, and this concerns both the public sector -- the official sector, as we call our institutional partners -- and the private sector, the participation of the banks and the other holders of Greek bonds".
"That is why of great importance were the series of contacts I had with the Institute of International Finance (IIF), the annual membership meeting of which I addressed at noon (Sunday), and with many heads of individual banking foundations and credit organisations that want and are able to help in this cause, to their own benefit but also, of great importance, to our own benefit too, the benefit of the Greek banking system, the Greek social security funds, the Greek national economy," he added.