Bankers demand more poverty in Greece

London bankers, cartoon by Chris Madden

From daily The Morning Star in Greece:

Bank: Greece must stay on track

Monday 02 July 2012

by Our Foreign Desk

The European Central Bank (ECB) came down with the iron hand today despite its velvet-glove noises about some wiggle room for Greece prior to the recent election.

ECB executive board member Joerg Asmussen bluntly told Greece it must fulfil its austerity targets and reform programme “100 per cent” to stay in the euro.

The warning offers little hope of flexibility for Athens and whether it can be given more time to comply.

“If one has identified that something needs to be done, do this quickly,” Mr Asmussen told a financial conference in Athens.

“Don’t wait. Don’t stretch the pain because this is better to restore confidence in an economy.”

Greece’s new government wants to lower some taxes, freeze public-sector lay-offs and extend by two years the mid-2014 deadline for austerity measures demanded by its creditors, conditions that are hugely unpopular in the country.

But Mr Asmussen said: “If the government intends to lower one tax, it will have to increase another tax by the same amount” and when asked whether Greece would get more time to comply, he simply replied: “I don’t think so.”

Mr Asmussen noted that any extension would lead to a need for more external financial help, meaning: “The other 16 eurozone states and the IMF would then have to provide more financing.”

The ECB is part of the so-called “troika” of debt inspectors overseeing the Greek programme, along with the European Commission and the IMF.

Official figures showed today that unemployment in the eurozone hit another record in May: here. And here. And here.

France’s socialist President Francois Hollande faced his first major challenge from the country’s financial establishment today: here.

11 thoughts on “Bankers demand more poverty in Greece

  1. Recession creates ‘alarming’ data

    GREECE: A spokesman for the new government said today that it will present “alarming” data on its recession and unemployment to international inspectors.

    Spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said that the data would demonstrate that the current austerity programme was counterproductive.

    Representatives from the European Commission, the ECB and the IMF are due in Athens tomorrow.


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