NEWS

No new measures on way

No more austerity measures will be adopted by the government, which is expected to turn to the international markets to borrow money again this week through a new bond issue, even if Greece has to be rescued by its eurozone partners and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Deputy Finance Minister Filippos Sachinidis told Sunday’s Kathimerini. Greece received a boost last week when the other 15 countries whose currency is the euro agreed that through a series of bilateral loans, they would make money available to Athens if it has trouble borrowing from other sources. As part of the scheme, one third of the funds would be supplied by the Washington-based IMF. The fund’s exact role in the scheme has yet to be publicly clarified. The involvement of the IMF has prompted questions as to whether PASOK would be asked to bring in more public spending cuts and tax hikes. But Sachinidis was adamant that this will not happen. «There is no chance of tougher measures. Firstly, because the IMF has a minority participation in the solution that was agreed to in Brussels and everything will pass through the European Union, which has already said that the measures we have taken are good enough,» the deputy minister said. «Secondly, no more measures will be needed because the ones we have taken are, in my opinion, enough to reduce the public deficit by more than 4 percent, which is the agreed target for 2010,» Sachinidis added. However, much may depend on the interest rate at which the government can borrow money through bond issues. Petros Christodoulou, the head of Greece’s public debt management agency, told the Financial Times newspaper on Saturday that the government would like to raise 5 billion euros over the next few days. It is expected to issue either a three- or seven-year bond this month, followed by a similar issue in April. Greece has to find a way of repaying debt of 20 billion euros by May. The borrowing rate at which Greece can raise money fell to 6.19 percent on Friday, from almost 7 percent earlier this year, on the back of the deal brokered in Brussels.