Papandreou We have to concentrate on the next steps in the economy

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Less than 24 hours after the eurozone finalized the details of a 30-billion-euro emergency loan scheme for Greece, Prime Minister George Papandreou tried to shift attention to the economic reforms his government still has to undertake.Papandreou said he was not focusing just on the positive impact that the announcement of the package details had on Greek bond spreads. “We have to concentrate on the next steps in the economy,” he said, adding that the yields on Greek paper would not be the only indicator of whether Athens will call on the loans.Sources said the government wants to push ahead with reforms as European Commission officials are due to conduct an economic progress report next month and Greece wants to avoid any negative feedback. The new tax regulations are due to be voted into law this week. Next on the agenda are the liberalization of closed occupations and pension reforms. Papandreou and his ministers are also due to discuss over the next few days the sell-off of public companies.Papandreou’s statements came after Greece was tossed a financial lifeline by the eurozone on Sunday when European Union finance ministers agreed  to provide Athens with up to 30 billion euros emergency loans.Luxembourg Prime Minister and Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Juncker said that Greece would receive the money in the form of bilateral loans that would be coordinated by the European Commission and paid through the European Central Bank (ECB).“If the mechanism had to be activated, it would not be a violation of the no-bailout clause (in the European Union treaty) since the loans are repayable and contain no element of subsidy,” he told reporters.European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said loans would carry an interest rate of about 5 percent.Last week, the yield on Greek 10-year bonds rose above 7.5 percent, its highest since 1998.Rehn also said that the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) would make a “substantial contribution” to the deal, probably about 10 billion euros.Greece intends to auction 1.2 billion euros of government bonds this week as it seeks to raise about 11 billion euros by the end of May to refinance debt and meet interest charges.The announcement in Brussels was welcomed in Athens.“A very important decision has been made,” said Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou. “The Greek government has not asked for the activation of the mechanism, although it is immediately available.“We believe that we will be able to continue borrowing on the markets without any obstructions.”Papaconstantinou said that as of today, Greece would participate in a joint technical commission with the EU, ECB and IMF to finalize how the mechanism would work.last_img

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