ECONOMY

Minister won?t rule out more measures

Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos presented details of stiff spending cuts and tax hikes to a parliamentary committee on Friday.

The measures are to be voted on in Parliament next week in two bills that must pass if Greece is to receive a critical installment of its international bailout next month, in time to prevent a potentially disastrous default that could drag down European banks and affect other financially troubled European countries.

?Yesterday was a very unpleasant day for me, because I had to tell bitter truths, and we had to agree on very tough measures, measures which also include the element of injustice and the element of overtaxation,? he told the financial affairs committee.

Venizelos said he could not rule out having to impose even more measures during his tenure as finance minister, but that he and his deputies would try to ensure that would not be necessary.

?We can?t keep coming back every so often and asking for corrective measures, but I won?t state that I will never introduce more measures while I am finance minister and am handling a crisis,? he said.

?We… will make every effort humanly possible to execute the budget and the midterm program without new measures. But the result depends on the state as a whole, the public administration, the whole market, the tax compliance of all citizens.?

Parliament will hold the final session of the debate on the medium-term fiscal plan on Wednesday at 10 a.m., according to a statement posted on its website.

The debate will begin on Monday with another session currently scheduled to start at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, according to the statement.

Angered by measures that include higher taxes for those earning around the minimum wage, unions have called a 48-hour general strike for Tuesday and Wednesday, during the debate by lawmakers.

Venizelos said one of the main issues facing the Greek economy, which is deep in recession, was the lack of growth. He added that he would be meeting with his German counterpart Wolfgang Schaeuble in Berlin to discuss the matter.

He did not say when the trip would take place.