Athens hails 'positive climate' at debt talks

GMT 23:39 2014 Wednesday ,03 September

Arab Today, arab today Athens hails 'positive climate' at debt talks

People drive by an abandoned building in central Athens
Athens - AFP

Greece on Wednesday said talks it is holding with its international creditors were looking "positive" as it hopes to gain approval for a set of measures to reduce its massive tax burden.
"The climate is positive... fiscal performance in the first seven months presented to creditors on Tuesday night are on target," government spokeswoman Sophia Voultepsi was quoted as saying by Greek media.
Greece's so-called troika of creditors -- the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund -- have recognised Greece's efforts to clean up its finances, she said.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras's government wants its hard-won efforts at economic reform to be recognised with a concrete pledge to reduce payments on its massive debt.
Despite swingeing austerity measures, the EU's statistic agency estimates Greece's debt rose last year to over 318 billion euros ($418 billion), or 175.1 percent of economic output, up from 304 billion year earlier.
Much of that debt is held by European institutions, and Athens hopes talks in Paris will set the stage to agree on lower interest rates or longer maturities ahead of a formal review of the country's loans.
"Our policy is to (begin to) discuss the debt, which must be declared officially viable to attract investment... it is a crucial issue," Voultepsi added.
Excruciating reforms carried out by Samaras' conservative government seem to be paying off, with the country set to exit a painful six-year recession in 2014.
Greece also returned to medium-term bond markets in April for the first time since it was forced to seek an international bailout in 2010, which has totalled some 240 billion euros paid in several tranches.
The latest audit of Greece's accounts is set to finish in late September to allow the payment of the final installment of loans to the country worth some 2 billion euros.
The last assessment was completed in June, but only after months of difficult negotiations.

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