Central Banks

Tuesday, August 21, 2012 - 18:00

Greece Samaras: Asking For More Time, Not More Money -Press


FRANKFURT (MNI) - Greece is asking for more time and not for more money, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras told German daily Bild Zeitung in an interview published Wednesday shortly before his visit to Berlin.

"Let me be very clear: We are not asking for additional money. We stick to our commitments and to meeting all requirements [of the bailout program]," Samaras told the tabloid.

"We must stimulate growth because this will reduce financial gaps. All that we want is a little breathing space to get the economy going quickly and to increase public revenues," he said. "More time does not automatically mean more money."

Germany has signalled that it is ready to make some concessions on the timing of specific requirements but only within the currently agreed timeframe of 2015. In contrast to Samaras, Germany argues that more time means more money.

Samaras promised that Greece will soon have "a smaller healthier and significantly more efficient" public sector. "I have decided that for every ten public servants going into retirement, we will only hire one new one." Samaras also promised further tax and labor market reforms to boost the country's competitiveness.

The Greek prime minister called for more solidarity from Eurozone partners. "We must escape this negative psychology that is like a deep black hole," he said. "We are progressing with structural reforms and privatization. And it is not fair when some in Europe keep want to push us back into that hole."

"Greeks and Germans have much in common, We too an turn a tragedy into a success story," Samaras said.

--Frankfurt bureau tel.: +49-69-720142. email: jtreeck@mni-news.com

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