Athens aims to set­tle debt is­sue while at EU helm

FinMin out­lines Greek aims for pres­i­dency

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

With Greece set to as­sume the ro­tat­ing six-month pres­i­dency of the Euro­pean Union dur­ing an of­fi­cial cer­e­mony in Athens to­day, Fi­nance Min­is­ter Yan­nis Stournaras said yes­ter­day that he be­lieved Athens would reach an agree­ment with its for­eign cred­i­tors on two key is­sues dur­ing that pe­riod – on how to cover a fund­ing gap for the next two years es­ti­mated at around 14 bil­lion eu­ros and on the na­ture of the debt relief Greece has been lob­by­ing for.

Ad­dress­ing a press con­fer­ence, Stournaras told re­porters that Greece’s eco­nomic re­form ef­forts had gone “bet­ter than ex­pected” in 2013 and that the im­pact of the re­ces­sion had been blunted. Re­spond­ing to re­porters’ ques­tions, Stournaras said the dis­cus­sion on pos­si­ble debt relief for Greece could start as soon as April, when the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion’s sta­tis­tics ser­vice, Euro­stat, is ex­pected to con­firm es­ti­mates that Greece will post a pri­mary sur­plus in 2013. “The dis­cus­sion can be com­pleted ei­ther dur­ing the pres­i­dency or af­ter it,” the min­is­ter said. Any debt relief is ex­pected to com­prise a re­duc­tion in in­ter­est rates and an ex­ten­sion on the ma­tu­ri­ties of Greece’s loans, not a new write­down of the coun­try’s debt.

Apart from the an­tic­i­pated re­sump­tion of talks with the troika next week, Stournaras said the gov­ern­ment was pre­par­ing for the forth­com­ing Eurogroup and Ecofin sum­mits in Brus­sels, on Jan­uary 27 and 28 re­spec­tively, where the agenda is ex­pected to be dom­i­nated by nonGreek is­sues. Top­ping the agenda will be fis­cal ad­vice to EU mem­ber states that are not in­volved in EUbacked res­cue pro­grams as well as eco­nomic gov­er­nance and reg­u­la­tions for more ef­fec­tive fis­cal ad­just­ment, Stournaras said.

Prime Min­is­ter An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras is to re­ceive Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent Jose Manuel Bar­roso and a host of other for­eign dig­ni­taries in Athens

out­side Zappeion Hall in cen­tral Athens yes­ter­day ahead of an of­fi­cial cer­e­mony to in­au­gu­rate Greece’s pres­i­dency of the Euro­pean Union to­day. Greece will re­main at the EU helm un­til July this year. to­day for an of­fi­cial cer­e­mony to mark Greece’s as­sump­tion of the EU pres­i­dency on Jan­uary 1. The fes­tiv­i­ties are to be cen­tered around two land­marks – Zappeion Hall and the Athens Con­cert Hall – with Sa­ma­ras and Bar­roso ex­pected to give a joint press con­fer­ence from the for­mer site at around 5.30 p.m. ahead of the ac­tual as­sump­tion cer­e­mony at the Athens Con­cert Hall. Euro­pean Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Her­man Van Rom­puy is ex­pect- ed to ar­rive in Athens in time for the inau­gu­ra­tion, which will be at­tended by sev­eral com­mis­sion­ers.

Se­cu­rity will be tight through­out the day with a height­ened po­lice pres­ence and traf­fic re­stric­tions across much of the city center. The po­lice is­sued a state­ment yes­ter­day evening im­pos­ing an 18-hour ban on protests in cen­tral Athens, start­ing at 6 a.m. to­day. A sim­i­lar protest ban was en­forced last July when Ger­man Fi­nance Min­is­ter Wolf­gang Schaeu­ble vis­ited Athens and in Oc­to­ber 2012 when Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel flew in.

In a re­lated de­vel­op­ment yes­ter­day, Euro­pean Par­lia­ment Pres­i­dent Martin Schulz con­firmed, via his spokesman, that a sched­uled visit to Athens to­day by mem­bers of a com­mit­tee set up to probe the role and ac­tiv­i­ties of the troika in Greece had been post­poned un­til af­ter the EU pres­i­dency fes­tiv­i­ties.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Greece

© PressReader. All rights reserved.