NEWS

Finmin says measures not on cards

Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, who met auditors from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund on Monday, told a press conference that the week ahead would be ?crucial for the country» but sought to appear upbeat, noting that there were no immediate plans for new austerity measures.

Noting that the past few months had been a ?constant, anxious struggle to keep the country on its feet,? Venizelos described a new budget, which was voted through Parliament last week, as ?very difficult.?

But, he said, if the budget is executed as planned, ?no new austerity measures will be added to the 2012 budget.?

Venizelos added that talks in Athens with Charles Dallara, the managing director of the Institute of International Finance, a group representing Greece?s private creditors, had been ?constructive.?

A bond swap, which forms part of a second bailout package for Greece and foresees creditors taking a 50 percent writedown on Greek debt, should be completed by the end of January, Venizelos said.

Auditors from the EC, ECB and IMF, known collectively as the troika, are back in Athens for talks on a second bailout for Greece, which was negotiated in Brussels in October.