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Papademos: Greece Over Halfway to Recovery‎

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Greece is “more than halfway” to economic recovery and should return to positive growth in less than two years, Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos told the Financial Times.
In an interview published online Sunday evening, Papademos conceded that the fiscal consolidation process would require more time. However, the implementation of the reform program will lead to “a virtuous circle of structural reform, increasing activity and faster fiscal consolidation,” he said.

“At the same time, it would be helpful to address the short-term negative side effects of the adjustment programme by complementing it with policy measures that can help support economic activity and employment over the short and medium term,” he said.

He added that, with the “full and effective implementation” of Greece’s new economic program, the possibility of additional debt restructuring would be eliminated.
“We will do whatever is needed to ensure that this was the last restructuring of Greek sovereign debt,” he said.

Papademos also highlighted plans – in cooperation with the European Commission and the European Investment Bank – to address the lack of liquidity in the Greek banking sector and boost lending to small and medium-sized companies.

The prime minister stressed that the policies currently being implemented do not suggest “any fundamental loss of political or democratic sovereignty,” arguing that such an outcome would be “unacceptable and inappropriate.”
“Both the first and second programmes were debated and approved by the Greek parliament – the latter one by a huge, two-thirds majority,” Papademos observed.

He also underlined the overwhelming majority of Greeks who want to remain a part of the Eurozone and said there is “no doubt” the country will stay within the currency union.
“A large silent majority – and they are not the people demonstrating in the streets – understand that the price stability that the European Monetary Union entails and the fiscal discipline that it requires imply benefits for the country, and that the adjustment process is going to be more effective within the euro than outside,” he said.
(source: FT, MNI)

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