Greek FinMin says road still rough, primary surplus is key objective

Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras on Tuesday said that he was prepared to send a “message of optimism but not of complacency.”

Speaking at a press conference following the successful completion of talks on Monday with international creditors on a series of reforms that pave the way for the release of crucial aid funding, and after his return from a meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Dublin, the Greek finance chief said that “until Greece can return to the markets, the road remains rough.”

“We have covered two-thirds of the distance in terms of fiscal adjustment and three-fourths of the distance in terms of competitiveness,” Stournaras said.

“The most pressing goal is achieving a primary budget surplus even as of this year, so that we can activate the clause for a debt restructuring agreed in the Eurogroup meeting of November 27. Our biggest challenge is the combination of fiscal adjustment and economic growth.”

Stournaras said that negotiations with envoys from the European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund “were tough, but were conducted in a climate of mutual trust.”

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