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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 12-11-28

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Eurogroup decisions keep Greece in euro

  • [01] Eurogroup decisions keep Greece in euro

    AMNA--Prime Minister and New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras and the leaders of the two parties participating in his three-party coalition government -- PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left (DIMAR) leader Fotis Kouvelis -- met on Wednesday to review the decisions on Greece taken at a Eurogroup meeting of eurozone finance ministers on Monday.

    According to the coalition government's two junior partners, Venizelos and Kouvelis, no issue of a government reshuffle was put forward at their meeting, during which they were briefed on the Eurogroup meeting and decisions by Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras.amna

    "We have a new framework, a new starting point that we must take advantage of in the best possible way to the benefit of the real economy, to the benefit of the citizens, because now only a halting of the recession and positive growth rates can convince the Greeks that a prospect exists," PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos told reporters after the leaders' meeting.

    Venizelos stressed that "the climate (vis-a-vis Greece) has changed" and that "we also must believe in this cause", adding the importance of "the Greeks feeling more confident".

    "We know the difficulties, we know what every household is going through, we know what it means to be unemployed, to have your business be at risk and to have lost income. But the country must remain standing, and now it can regain the lost ground and once again become autonomous and equal in Europe," he added.

    Venizelos said that the immediate target now was "completion of all that we have undertaken in relation to the buy-back of the Greek bonds (Greek debt buy-back), the recapitalisation of the banks - not the bankers (an indirect reply to opposition criticism), for money to enter the market, for the state to pay what it owes to the market and, of course, for the liquidity to be channeled to the market".

    He explained that this was why the recapitalisation of the banks is accompanied by three accords on liquidity, on reconstruction and on reacquiring the value of the banks, respectively, in order for the state to get back what it puts into the banking system.amna

    Asked if a change in the operation of the government was put forward, Venizelos said that "this was not the subject of today's discussion", adding that "now we must take advantage of the moment, which is very important, the country must turn towards exiting the crisis".amna

    DIMAR leader Fotis Kouvelis put the priority on growth and restoring and reinforcing the social cohesion, speaking in turn to reporters after the leaders' meeting.

    Kouvelis said that a comprehensive plan for the country's recovery and a protection net for the hard-hit social strata is necessary.amna

    "We will do everything needed for the country to move forward, for a developmental process and the creation of jobs," he said.

    Kouvelis added that his party's decision to support the coalition government for Greece's continued stay in the euro and to avert political instability has been vindicated, and welcomed the Eurogroup decisions as an "exceptionally positive". development.amna

    On the prospect of a government reshuffle, he said that no discussion on such a prospect took place with Samaras and Venizelos, adding that "the issue was not brought up in any manner".

    Asked if an updating of the three parties' programme agreement (for participation in the coalition government) is needed, Kouvelis stressed that the priority should be on policies for growth and social cohesion.

    Leaving the meeting earlier, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said he briefed the leaders of the coalition government's three parties on Monday's Eurogroup meeting and outcome.

    Stournaras said that in the coming days the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund S.A. (HRADF) will issue an announcement explaining how the Greek debt buy-back programme will be carried out.

    Asked by journalists how easy or hard the buy-back process will be, Stournaras said that he is optimistic, adding that "nothing is easy, but we're trying".

    The buy-back of the Greek debt is a precondition set out by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to release its portion of the 43.7-billion-euros tranche of the EU/IMF IMF bailout loan to Greece that was approved by a Eurogroup meeting of eurozone finance ministers at Monday's meeting in Brussels.amna

    IMF managing director Christine Lagarde, who attended the Eurogroup meeting, welcomed the Eurogroup's decisions on Greece and added that once progress has been made on specifying and delivering the commitments made at the meeting, and "in particular the implementation of the debt buybacks", she would be "in a position to recommend to the IMF Executive Board the completion of the first review of Greece's program".

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