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ECB tells Greece to implement reforms: forget about “softer” austerity program

Tuesday, July 3rd 2012 - 01:37 UTC
Full article 5 comments
Joerg Asmussen: first priority for the new Greek government has to be getting the program back on track Joerg Asmussen: first priority for the new Greek government has to be getting the program back on track

Greece must not lose time trying to renegotiate its foreign bailout but focus on reforms instead, European Central Bank policymaker Joerg Asmussen said on Monday, in a blow to Greek hopes of winning quick concessions from its lenders.

Asmussen's comments signalled the tough message the so-called “troika” of EU, ECB and IMF lenders are likely to bring this week to Athens, where a new Conservative-led government has promised voters to overhaul the terms of the unpopular bailout.

“The first priority for the new Greek government has to be getting the program back on track,” Asmussen, an ECB Executive Board member, said in a speech adding that policy implementation had virtually stalled over the past three months.

“The new government should not lose precious time looking to avoid or loosen the program.”

Days after taking office, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras outlined a wish-list of changes to the 130-billion-Euro rescue plan to lessen the toll on an economy buckling under its fifth year of recession. But Asmussen, formerly a close advisor of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, warned against trying to delay adjustments or relaxing Greece's target of bringing debt down to a more sustainable level of 120% of GDP by 2020.

“Delaying adjustment is risky... And it is also not free: it requires additional funding from the creditor countries, because the country still runs a primary deficit,” Asmussen said.

Asmussen, who has become an international negotiator for the ECB since joining the bank at the start of the year, told a Greek newspaper at the weekend that Greece's lenders were willing to rework some of the program's conditions, but not drastically.

His comments poured cold water on Greek hopes, sparked by the EU summit, that the country might wrest concessions similar to those granted Spain and Italy, particularly the direct recapitalisation of its banks from the EU rescue funds.
 

Categories: Economy, International.

Top Comments

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  • cLOHO

    dam going on hols in three weeks, hope Greece doesnt do an Argentina...ie food shortages and power cuts

    Jul 03rd, 2012 - 11:49 am 0
  • briton

    Greece baby,
    You as made ya bed, now lay on the bloody thing,

    For you will surely regret being conned yet again by your European masters .

    .

    Jul 03rd, 2012 - 12:09 pm 0
  • Fido Dido

    hope Greece doesnt do an Argentina...ie food shortages and power cuts.
    Hope? If you get out of your cave you will know that they already suffer of power and food shortages. Moron.

    For you will surely regret being conned yet again by your European masters .
    You mean the troika (EU, the ECB (Germany), IMF (Goldman Sachs).

    Jul 03rd, 2012 - 07:31 pm 0
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