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Informal meeting of ECOFIN Council (Wrocław, 16-17/9/2011) – Participation of Greek Finance Minister, E. Venizelos

Government Vice-President and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos attended informal Eurogroup and Ecofin meetings in Wroclaw, Poland, on September 16-17. Speaking to reporters following the meetings, Venizelos said he briefed the Council over decisions taken by the Greek government to achieve fiscal targets for 2011 and 2012, and towards reaching primary budget surplus the soonest possible.

Venizelos said that it is a common position within the Eurozone that all decisions taken during the July 21 EU Summit must be fully implemented and stressed that “an international environment has been fuelling uncertainty, which affects the implementation of Eurozone decisions and our policies’ performance, ones aimed at dealing with the debt crisis. This vicious circle must end.” 
Meanwhile, following a meeting of the governmental committee in Athens, yesterday, chaired by Prime Minister George Papandreou , Venizelos said that the Government takes full responsibility for the implementation of the agreed programme, but this responsibility must be also taken by all European institutions, all member-states, because the July decisions, the decisions of the European Council have an existential significance for the Euro Area.

ECOFIN: Greek Budgetary Measures Found Satisfactory

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Commenting the results of the July 7th Economic and Financial Meeting in Brussels, Finance Minister Yannis Papathanassiou said that budgetary measures taken by the government in June were considered satisfactory by the European Union.  “We explained the reasons we could not adopt structural measures in 2009. In the 2010 budget, we can pursue structural measures which will help Greece lower its budget deficit”, the minister said.  An extension to the 2010 deadline, if necessary, is possible, the minister added, especially given the increasing number of EU member states entering into excessive deficit procedures.  As of this month, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Latvia and Rumania have join the list of countries with excessive deficits (France, Greece, Spain, Ireland, UK), while another 9 countries including Italy and Germany are to join the list in November.  Council of the European Union: Main Results of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council meeting  Ministry of Economy and Finance: Tables on the 2009 Budget progress & Press conference on the 2009 Budget execution progress (June 25)

Greek FINMIN in Brussels

papathanasiouECOFIN1(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The explosion of the unemployment rate in the European Union is the biggest social problem facing EU member-states, Economy and Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanasiou said on Tuesday, adding that employment in Greece remained at better levels compared with other EU states. Speaking an Economy and Financial Affairs Council meeting, the Greek minister said the government was determined to combating unemployment with specific measures, such as programs for the construction sector.  Papathanasiou said the Council meeting also discussed changes in the taxation of tobacco products. “Our interest is to support Greek production, the Greek tobacco industry and job positions,” he said, adding that the Council leaned towards a compromise proposal in favour of Greek interests, although it failed to reach a decision. An increasing number of EU member states entering into excessive deficit procedures facilitates Greece task in requesting a one year extension to 2011, if necessary, to bring the deficit down to 3%. Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Latvia and Rumania join the list of countries with excessive deficits (France, Greece, Spain, Ireland, UK) as of today, while another 9 countries including Italy and Germany are to join the list in November.  Greek News Agenda: Tax Package to Curb Budget Deficit

ECOFIN Discusses European Economies

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Efforts to restore the operation of the banking system in Europe and the implementation of an updated Stability and Growth Pact were the main focus of the Ecofin meeting in Brussels on February 10 Economy and Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanasiou said, speaking to reporters after the meeting. The minister underlined the need to respect the rules, as laid out in the Stability and Growth Pact and added that the updated Greek version submitted to the European Commission pledged to reduce the country’s fiscal deficit below 3% of the GDP by 2011. Asked whether there is a need of revising a 28-bln-euro plan to prop up liquidity in the Greek banking system, Papathanasiou said that there is no such need because Greek banks have had minimum exposure to the so-called “toxic” assets.