Greece seeks more time to meet bailout terms

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Friday asked EU-IMF creditors for more time for a tough bailout programme, to ease the pain on an economy struggling in its fifth year of recession.

"We ask for the adjustment to be reached not in two years but later," he told parliament as he presented targets for the next four years, promising to push through a privatisation drive and keep Greece in the eurozone.

In exchange for extending a 2014 deadline to meet strict deficit benchmarks, Samaras promised that his newly elected government would meet all other commitments which lenders have demanded.

"Our problem is not adopting reforms, which we will do without question. It is not reaching an objective, which we will meet. But it is finding an end to the recession," he said.

Samaras spoke as auditors from the European Union and International Monetary Fund pick through government books to determine how well Greece has met pledges made in return for its latest 130-billion-euro bailout.

Greece must win the confidence of the auditors to obtain the next slice of aid money which it needs to pay current expenditure.

Samaras stressed that the "the goal of the government is to guarantee the place of Greece in the eurozone against those who want to undermine it." He also promised the "closure or merger of several state entities" this year and faster privatisation, including of the national railway company.

He also repeated a warning made Thursday by Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras that Greece's recovery programme was "off-track" after two election campaigns in two months.

To address the problem, Samaras asked creditors for their understanding that it is in order "to reach the programme's objectives that we must change aspects of it that are making our recession worse".

"We will do everything to change what needs to be changed, fight against recession so that the country meets its targets... while reinforcing our country in the heart of the euro and the European Union," Samaras stressed.

Greek ministers have been instructed to cooperate with the EU-IMF inspectors, who began their audit earlier this week, and refrain from asking for outright renegotiation requests.

The labour ministry told the auditors on Thursday that unit labour costs were down by eight percent and on track towards a 2014 target of 15 percent, the state-run Athens News Agency said.

EU finance ministers meet Monday to follow up on a summit last week that was presented as a breakthrough in getting through the debt crisis but a European Central Bank interest rate change Thursday disappointed markets.

Cyprus meanwhile, which now holds the EU's rotating presidency, complained its banks had paid a "heavy price" to enable Greece to write off more than 100 billion euros ($124 billion) in private sector debt as part of its second debt rescue, forcing a bailout request to shore up Cypriot lenders.

"This was not a fair way to deal with it," Cypriot Finance Minister Vassos Shiarly said. "It was a European problem," he said, as Russia said it had received a bailout request from Cyprus for 5.0 billion euros.

Greece said it will on Tuesday seek to raise 1.25 billion euros in six-month treasury bills, and until the EU and IMF release more funds, the Greek government needs all the money it can find.

Tax authorities this week said they had only managed to conclude about five percent of tax arrears cases, bringing in just 631 million euros.

Samaras, 61, took office after June 17 elections, promising an austerity-weary nation that he would re-examine salary cuts, tax rises and job losses.

In a letter to EU leaders last week, Samaras -- housebound at the time after major eye surgery -- said Greece must obtain "necessary modifications" to its rescue programme in order to fight off recession and reach its economic goals.

But on Monday ECB executive board member Joerg Asmussen warned Athens that revisiting its programme was "risky" and "also not for free".

Greece was rescued in May 2010 and late last year agreed another accord which included a big write-off of debt owed to private investors.

The EU-IMF audit is expected to last weeks and actual negotiations with creditors are set to begin only at the end of the month.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Southwest transport terminal construction start still in limbo

    The construction of the country’s first intermodal transport facility is in limbo as both the government and the winning private concessionaire are waiting on each other before finally pushing through with the contract signing. Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said the ongoing titling of the project site for the R2.5-billion Integrated Transport System (ITS) Southwest Terminal should not delay the concession agreement signing, which has been indefinitely postponed since February …

  • Jesuit school confers honors on Deles, Ferrer, Iqbal

    Despite heavy opposition from the alumni and even parents of students, Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan conferred on Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles a degree on Doctor of Humanities, honoris causa Wednesday. The Jesuit-run university also recognized the other major players in the ongoing peace process between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as it awarded GPH peace panel chair Miriam Coronel-Ferrer and …

  • Mobile market tapped for saleable items worth P21B

    With more than P21 billion worth of saleable items in Philippine households, online classifieds website OLX Philippines is aiming to tap this market by targeting mobile phone users who could be potential sellers and buyers of second hand items. OLX Philippines hopes to provide better support to mobile users with the OLX app since 50 percent of the website’s traffic is generated by mobile users. “We will soon become a mobile first company,” said OLX Philippines co-founder RJ David in a press …

  • Clark to host drag racing

    Drag racing takes an exciting turn as top guns try to push their respective bids in the third leg of the 2015 Philippine Drag Racing Championship Northern Series at the Clark International Speedway.Former US servicemen William “Bill” Hand and John Ryzia of the Angeles City Hot Rod Association (AHRA)-Garage Power hope to steer their respective American V8 muscle cars to repeat wins to secure solo leadership in their respective divisions. ... …

  • The greatest city in the world

    Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) proudly brought back our flag to the Big Apple when it landed at the JFK Airport last March 15, after an 18-year hiatus. The Manila-Vancouver-New York route 18 years ago was terminated due to an expensive leasing arrangement and the Asian financial crisis. JFK Airport at Queens Borough is 15 miles to midtown Manhattan, connected via the New York subway train system. Consider it normal if you can make it to Manhattan under two hours. …

  • The future of the BPO/KPO industry

    One of the few economic sectors in which the Philippines is a global player is the Business Process Outsourcing/Knowledge Processing Outsourcing (BPO/KPO) industry. According to a recent report of the Everest Group entitled “Global Trends in the Contact Center Market and Opportunities in the Philippines,” our country is the leader in the offshore/nearshore English Contact Center Outsourcing (CCO) market with some 36% share. In the Philippines, the growth has been close to 20% over the last …

  • Ars gratia artis

    The Ateneo Art Gallery, widely recognized today as the first museum of Philippine modern art showcasing works by postwar Filipino artists. Its “pilot,” Ateneo President Fr. Ramon Jose Villarin, SJ, admits that it “runs on the fuel of the generosity and munificence of its donors.”ARTISTS, MODELS, & MEDICIS. Last Monday, 23 March, four recent acquisitions were added to the collection. A Fernando Amorsolo life-size portrait of Liliana de Asis (1952) was a gift of Francisco and Mila de Asis and …

  • Baranda, Dumlao star in Vios Cup

    Defending champion Pauland Dumlao and showbiz personality Phoemela Baranda won their respective heats at the start of the Vios Cup Season 2 held recently at the Clark International Speedway in Pampanga.Dumlao of Team Toyota San Fernando took the second heat of the Sporting Class category while Baranda ruled the first heat of the Promotional Class division to open the second staging of the event organized by Toyota Motor Philippines. ... …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options