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Athens News Agency: News in English, 11-04-26

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] EU Commission: Upward revision of Greek deficit due to changed Eurostat rules
  • [02] Power consumption up in March
  • [03] Van Rompuy: Greek debt sustainable 

  • [01] EU Commission: Upward revision of Greek deficit due to changed Eurostat rules

    Amadeu Altafaj, the spokesman for European Commissioner for economic and monetary affairs Olli Rehn, on Tuesday said that the upward revision of Greece's deficit for 2010 was the result of a change in Eurostat's rules for calculating member-state public deficit figures.

    Pointing to similar upward revisions for several eurozone countries, Altafaj also noted that for the first time after many years Eurostat had last November and then again on Tuesday confirmed the figures given by the Greek statistical authority.

    Asked how the increase in the public deficit figure would affect Greece's fiscal policy for 2011, Altafaj said that this would be addressed in the spring economic forecasts released by the European Commission in May.

    He underlined the Commission's absolute confidence in the Greek government's determination to implement the "ambitious" and "balanced" economic programme presented on April 15, in which the Greek government pledged spending cuts amounting to three billion euro during 2011 and 26 billion euro by 2015, combined with a 50 billion euro privatisation programme.

    The spokesman was fairly optimistic concerning the impact of the programme and said that the social cost for Greece would have been much greater if the measures had not been taken.

    Altafaj noted that the programme had already had an immediate positive impact on a social level, such as by reducing prices for medication, and was expected to increase the competitiveness of the Greek economy in the medium term, with the latest Eurostat figures pointing to a gradual levelling-off in the Greek recession.

    Finally, he denied any plans by Rehn to visit Athens in the coming weeks.

    More details on the subscriber's page of ANA-MPA | Subscription request form

    

    [02] Power consumption up in March

    Electric power consumption was up for a second consecutive month in March, the Hellenic Transmission System Operator (HTSO) announced on Tuesday. The increase was mainly a result of increased demand by major industries powered by the the Public Power Corp. SA (PPC SA) high-voltage grid. Consumption by small and medium-sized enterprises, households and other consumers was marginally reduced.

    HTSO announced that overall electricity demand increased 2.98 pct in March compared with last year, while in the first quarter demand was increased 1.4 pct. In the same period (Jan.-March) the major industries raised their electricity demand 12.36 pct, while Greek households and other enterprises cut demand by 0.74 pct.

    Electricity production from natural gas was up 63 pct and from lignite up 12 pct, whereas electricity production from oil-burning plants was down 99.7 pct (virtually dropping to zero). Electricity production from hydroelectric power dropped 60 pct compared to last year due to reduced water reserves.

    Greece continued to have an overall electric power deficit, exporting power to Albania and Italy and importing from Turkey, Bulgaria and fYRoM.

    More details on the subscriber's page of ANA-MPA | Subscription request form

    

    [03] Van Rompuy: Greek debt sustainable

    The opinion that Greece's public debt is sustainable and should not be restructured was repeated by European Council President Herman van Rompuy in an interview published by the Belgian newspaper "De Standaard" on Tuesday.

    According to the former Belgian premier, a restructuring of Greek debt was not inevitable and he criticised "impatient" economic pundits for rushing to predict the country's failure and not giving enough time for measures to kick in, noting that Belgium had been given seven years to tame a deficit of 7.5 percent in the 90s and Sweden eight years to tackle its own deficit problems in the late 80s and early 90s.

    He voiced the opinion that Greece's debt would be "tolerable" if the country were given enough time to deal with it and stressed that Greeks were not letting things take their course but were pushing through major reforms that included a 50 billion euro privatisation plan that he described as "gigantic" for such a small country.

    According to Van Rompuy, the benefits of restructuring would not offset its disadvantages while he said the severity and rapid pace of the reforms was unavoidable, despite the blow to consumer sentiment, in order to restore the blow to market confidence inflicted by revelations that Greek statistics had been 'doctored'.

    He also pointed out that the loans to Greece were not a case of European solidarity, stressing that they were not gifts and that tax-payers would actually gain as a result, since the interest on the loans to Greece was higher than the interest they paid on loans to create the European financial support fund.

    More details on the subscriber's page of ANA-MPA | Subscription request form


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