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Bank of Greece Governor: Full confidence in Government

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Georgios Provopoulos, the Governor of the Bank of Greece’s, said (on February 22) – in an interview with Bloomberg in Athens – he is confident that Greece will achieve its “very ambitious” deficit-reduction goals and avert further credit-rating downgrades.
Rating agencies “want evidence that the plan is being implemented on target” and “some time will have to pass before they can form a better judgement,” said Provopoulos, who is also a European Central Bank council member.
“I have full confidence in the government meeting its goals. They have to succeed.
And they will, I’m sure of that,” he stressed, adding that he takes the commitment of European governments to stand by Greece at face value. The lack of a detailed rescue plan isn’t disappointing, he said. 
Bloomberg.com: Provopoulos Confident Greece Will Meet

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PM Papandreou meeting with French President Sarkozy

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Prime Minister George Papandreou flew to France yesterday, for talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy – on an array of issues, focused mostly on economic matters – ahead of today’s European Council meeting.
After his meeting with the French president, Papandreou stated that the Greek government is committed to taking all necessary measures to fix Greece’s public finances.
 “We are ready to take any measures in order to cut public deficit to 8.7% of GDP in 2010 from 12.7% in 2009 and to meet the commitments the government has undertaken in its Stability and Growth Programme.”
Besides the pressing deficit and credit crisis burdening Greece, Papandreou said issues dealing with the Balkans, the Cyprus problem, climate change and even Europe’s position on the international stage were discussed.
Kathimerini daily: Premier talks tough but EU may offer help; Youtube.com: Greek prime minister in France for debt talks

Greece: Stable Outlook for the Economy

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Recently appointed Economy and Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou on Wednesday defended the government’s economic policy, saying it remained committed to reducing the budget deficit to below 3%, but not at the expense of social cohesion in the country. Commenting on a decision by Standard & Poor’s rating agency to downgrade Greece’s credit rating to A-/A-2 with a stable outlook from A-/A-1, the minister said: “The main reason why Standard & Poor’s downgraded the country is that Greece faces an international financial crisis with high public debt and fiscal deficit. I would like to note, however, that the public debt has fallen to 93% of GDP, down from 100% in 2004, and that the fiscal deficit has been cut significantly from 7.5% of GDP in 2004.  He added that the deficit remains at high levels because of the government’s decision to place the real economy as a top priority, but that it is to the country’s benefit to gradually cut the deficit below 3.0%. “And this will happen with a plan without leaving behind the need for social cohesion. That’s exactly what we will seek with our updated Stability and Growth Programme which we will present by the end of month.”  Athens News Agency: FinMin defends economic policy; Ministry of Economy and Finance: Economic and Financial Data for Greece &  Hellenic Stability & Growth Programme 2007-2010 (December 2007)