ECONOMY

FinMin says the figures do add up

The government on Thursday sought to dispel growing speculation abroad as to whether the country will be able to finance its borrowing needs in coming years.

“I believe deeply in my heart that the figures do add up… if only we believed it ourselves. Greece has taken huge steps toward its salvation. We have covered more than two-thirds of the distance from the end of fiscal adjustment,” Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras told Parliament.

“All the sane forces in the world clearly want us to be saved, this is why there is a huge bailout plan for Greece. It is only global speculators that want Greece to go down – all those that short-sell the euro and bonds of the euro countries,” he added. Stournaras further argued that “we shall deal with problems as they arise. We shall roll debt repayments and installments backward if need be in order to secure the country’s salvation.”

Citing EU officials, Germany’s Handelsblatt newspaper on Thursday said Greece’s financing gap will rise to around 15 billion euros by 2016.

“Greece will need ready cash early in the autumn of 2014,” the paper said, noting that even though the initial discussion will take place at the Eurogroup in October, the decision on a new funding package will not be made before spring next year.

Separately, in relation to Greece’s projected funding gap, an International Monetary Fund official said: “The current IMF program is for the 2012-16 period, and the 2014-16 is part of it. There are, therefore, no talks on a new program.”

“Greece’s European partners have pledged to support the country throughout the duration of the program and after it, on condition it fulfills all its commitments,” said Gerry Rice, the IMF’s deputy director of external relations. “But as regards the IMF, the program is fully funded for the next 12 months,” he stressed.

European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said efforts will be intensified in September to evaluate the situation in the country and see how its fiscal solvency can be secured.

“The troika must first ascertain the facts and then decide what additional funding requirements there are,” he said, adding that ensuring Greece’s debt viability in 2015 and 2016 is a priority.