Speaking at a Greek-Chinese Business Conference yesterday, Finance minister Yannis Stournaras indirectly heralded the extension of the fiscal adjustment programme by 2 years, protothema.gr writes. He talked about continuing the effort to reduce spending by 2016, a reference interpreted as acceptance of the Greek request for an extension of the adjustment period.
FinMin stressed that negotiations with the troika were hard and the package of measures was difficult, ANA writes. “We work day and night hoping to reach the necessary decision in October which will allow us to look at the future with optimism, leaving behind past mistakes,” Stournaras said, adding that there was finally light at the end of tunnel.
According to FinMin, the budget this year will close within the limits accepted by the Troika despite the two elections. He estimated that because of the recession the primary deficit will rise to 1.5% of GDP in 2012, compared to the previous estimate of 1%.
He made specific reference to the need to accelerate privatizations, anti-fraud policy and generally the speeding-up of reforms.
Leaving a meeting with the Prime, Stournaras yesterday, Stournaras predicted that spending cuts and other measures to reduce the budget deficit by more than EUR 11.5 billion will probably be finalised on Sunday. “I hope, by Sunday. We don’t have much time, however,” he said, in reply to questions. Speaking off camera, he admitted that there was a gap between the government’s positions and those of the troika but indicated that this gap “was closing”.