BUSINESS

Greece 'ready to turn page' on crisis, EU official says

TAGS: Diplomacy, Economy

Greece is "finally ready to turn the page" on its financial crisis, EU commissioner and former French economy minister Pierre Moscovici said in remarks published Sunday ahead of crunch meetings.

Moscovici is to hold talks Monday in Athens with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and in an interview with centre left newspaper Ethnos he said an agreement on reforms, budget targets and debt relief is "totally feasible" in "the coming days."

Greece must negotiate the package with its EU and International Monetary Fund creditors. The next meeting of Eurozone finance ministers is on December 5.

Moscovici, an EU commissioner for economic affairs, told Ethnos he would ask Tsipras to "encourage the government to do what is necessary."

"The conditions are adequate" to allow the Greek debt burden to be raised at next month's ministers meeting, Moscovici was quoted as saying.

He also expects a "lively discussion" on the question of any relaxation of austerity measures.

There were strikes in Greece last week against a new round of tax hikes and labor changes being considered by the government under the EU rescue deal. Civil servants, teachers, sailors and hospital doctors walked off the job.

EU members and the IMF want Greece to overhaul its labor legislation to make strikes less likely while making layoffs easier.

The government last week also tabled a new budget containing around a billion euros from extra taxation on items including cars, landline phones, subscription TV, fuel, tobacco, coffee and beer.

Public spending on salaries and pensions will also be cut by 5.7 billion euros ($6 billion) next year.

[AFP]

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