ECONOMY

PM says Greece focused on reforms

Prime Minister George Papandreou said on Thursday that the government is focused on implementing reforms to return the economy to growth and doesn?t have the ?luxury? to concern itself with rumors.

?Last year around this time there was noise of impending bankruptcy,? Papandreou said in a cabinet meeting.

?We know the rest, we did what we had to and there wasn?t one. This year the scenario has changed and almost the same group is predicting daily that our country will restructure. We remain focused on our work.?

Papandreou?s comments came as Greece?s two-year note yields fell from a record high.

Greek two-year note yields climbed as much as 87 basis points to 26.27 percent, a euro-era high, before dropping 20 bps on Thursday to 20.20 percent, the first decline in 12 days.

Greece?s two-year note yields have added more than 900 basis points, or nine percentage points, since the start of the month, even as the Finance Ministry said it isn?t considering debt restructuring.

Earlier on Thursday, Maria Fekter, Austria?s finance minister, said she is ?not a friend? of a Greek debt restructuring because this would take pressure off the Greek government to tackle its debt problems.

?I?m not a friend of a debt restructuring because this would remove the pressure to execute reforms immediately, and this is not in our interest,? Fekter told journalists in Vienna. ?The better way is to keep up the reform pressure,? she added.

The head of the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers, Jean-Claude Juncker, also said on Thursday that a restructuring of Greek debt is «not an option» because it would cause enormous problems.

Juncker told reporters in Paris after a meeting with French Prime Minister Francois Fillon on EU debt problems, including Greek debt, that «the restructuring of the debt is not an option, it would lead to enormous problems which have not yet been identified, that is if they could ever be identified.”

Juncker, who is the prime minister and finance minister of Luxembourg, said, «Therefore [restructuring Greek debt] is not a working hypothesis.”