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Greece to receive sixth tranche of EU/IMF aid "in time": FM

09-28-2011 08:29 BJT

By Maria Spiliopoulou

ATHENS, Sept. 27 Xinhua) -- Greek Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos expressed confidence on Tuesday that Greece will get the sixth EU/IMF aid installment "in time" to avoid default this October.

Amidst continuing anti-austerity protests, Venizelos told reporters here that Athens will fulfill all pledges for fiscal consolidation and growth under the terms of the three-year bailout pact secured in 2010 by foreign lenders.

He made the remarks shortly before a parliamentary vote scheduled for later on Tuesday on a property tax, one of the fresh austerity measures expected to be introduced this autumn.

"I am most confident that the disbursement of the sixth tranche will be made in time, as long as Greece fulfils all commitments undertaken," said Venizelos after his return from the annual IMF meeting in Washington.

He stressed that Greece is willing to step up efforts and implement further painful measures in order to fully meet targets, dismissing the scenarios of a possible default of any form through a wide "haircut" of the Greek debt.

He reassured that EU/IMF auditors will return to Athens this week to continue a regular review of Greek finances. Without the next tranche of aid, Greece could run out of cash in mid-October.

Venizelos said most probably by Wednesday himself and the Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou who is on a visit to Germany, will send letters to IMF, the European Commission and the European Central Bank outlining the political commitments of Greece and the content of the supplementary austerity measures.

He repeated that Athens aims at primary surpluses starting from next year, despite deep recession and uncertain international financial environment.

Venizelos called on media and critics to focus on the impressive positive steps the country has made since the outbreak of the crisis in 2009, stressing that Greece has cut its deficit by 10 percent in less than two years.

According to the government's timetable, the 2012 budget, the tax system reform draft bill, along with the draft bill containing the latest additional austerity and reform measures outlined this month, would be approved by November, said Venizelos.

The fresh wave of cuts on salaries and wages of civil servants, tax increases and lay-offs in public administration has met strong resistance from labor unions who staged one more rally in front of the Finance Ministry on Tuesday.

"We have been forced to make difficult decisions with major political and social cost ... But the current measures help us avoid a real crisis, dramatic developments that could cause great disaster in Greece, similar to a defeat in war," argued Venizelos.

Later on Tuesday the assembly is due to vote on the new property tax that Venizelos presented as a sort of "risk premium" on the real estate of Greeks that according to estimations reaches up to 1 trillion euros.

The painful austerity measures were followed by continuous protests by the Greek people.

"We are angry. I work for over two decades and my salary has been reduced to 750 euros. How can I live? We are not willing to pay any more," a Finance Ministry employees identified as told Xinhua.

"We are angry. I work for over two decades and my salary has been reduced to 750 euros. How can I live? We are not willing to pay any more," said the middle-aged protester.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: Xinhua

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