Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said, in an interview published late on Saturday, that exiting the eurozone was “not an option for Greece and expressed his determination to forge ahead with painful reforms.
“We have to make sure that we abide by what we have signed because we believe that what they call ‘Grexit’ (a Greek exit from the eurozone) is not an option for us,” Samaras told The Washington Post.
“It would be a catastrophe,” he added. “In 2013, we are going to have a country in the sixth year of a recession with unemployment above 22 per cent and rising. We are here to fulfil our obligations, to meet our targets.”
Samaras, who became prime minister earlier this year, is trying to implement major budget cuts demanded by the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank in return for vital bailout funds. But the Greek prime minister insisted it would be impossible for parliament to approve these cuts right now.
“I have to pass it through parliament, and it will pass parliament because we all realise the No. 1 prerequisite for our future is to stay in the eurozone,” he said. “But it is a four-year programne, not something we can do today.”
Athens to get more time
Austria’s finance minister says Greece will get more time to repay the loans it received from international creditors. Maria Fekter told Oesterreich in an interview that the extension would be “cost neutral.”
Greece is struggling to repay some of its debts because a €31 billion ($39.7 billion) loan installment from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund has been held up.
The country’s creditors want Athens to cut a further €11.5 billion ($14.8 billion) in budget costs over the next two years against fierce opposition from labour unions.
From : Khalij