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Greece: Fiscal Goals Will be Met

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   After assessing the national Stability and Convergence Programmes of France, Spain, Ireland, Latvia, Malta and Greece , the European Commission presented yesterday (18.2) its reports the corrective arm of the Stability and Growth Pact. Economy and Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou said yesterday that Greece can return to sustainable public finances by 2011. He stated that the difference between the growth rate projections (EU estimates 0,2% growth rate and Greece 1,1%) affects forecasts for the budget deficit and public debt. He even added that EU’s projections between 2006 and 2008 were lower compared to those achieved. “Greece is one of the five countries in the eurozone expected to have positive growth. Unemployment falls below the eurozone average. Seven countries in the eurozone are projected to have a bloated deficit record this year, far higher that the Pact’s threshold of 3% (GDP). Ireland’s deficit is estimated to reach 11%, Spain’s 6,2%, France 5,4%, Portugal 4,6%, Italy 3,8%, Greece 3,7% and Slovenia 3,2%.” “In any case,” Papathanassiou concluded, “between 1980 and 2004, public debt has tripled. Reducing it is not only a matter of compliance with the Stability and Growth Pact, but also because it is in the country’s best interest.”