August 10, 2012
Athens. Greece went into talks with its international creditors on Sunday pledging it was committed to economic reforms that are vital if the debt-crippled country is to avert bankruptcy, AFP reported.
Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said in comments published ahead of the meeting with officials from the EU, IMF and the European Central Bank that the next few weeks were crucial for Greeces future in the eurozone.
The talks with the so-called troika of creditors are aimed at finalising 11.5 billion euros ($14 billion) in new budget cuts needed to unlock the next tranche of aid under a massive bailout package.
The country is committed to implementing a series of measures and reforms to revive the economy and permanently remove the threat of bankruptcy, Stournaras told the Ethnos newspaper.
He acknowledged that Greeks have had to endure major sacrifices as the new coalition government imposes tough austerity measures, including salary and pension cuts, demanded by its creditors in return for aid.
The coming weeks are crucial for the countrys survival because if we go down a different path than logic tells us, it could drive us outside the eurozone and into bankruptcy.
The troika has been pushing the government for two weeks to adopt the new budget cuts to unlock a 31.5-billion-euro loan disbursement in September as part of Greeces latest 130-billion-euro rescue package.
The measures, applicable in 2013 and 2014, were originally to have been finalised last month but back-to-back elections postponed the decision.
There is a serious effort to reach an agreement, a finance ministry source said as the talks began in Athens, adding that the atmosphere was good.
Stournaras said he hoped Greece could emerge from its deep recession by speeding up a privatisation programme and and structural reforms which are also being sought by its international creditors.
Greece was given a lifeline last week when the ECB agreed on a move which will give Athens access to another four billion euros of funds and ensure its financial survival until September, a German newspaper reported Saturday.