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Canadian minister urges Greece to immediately implement bailout plan

11-02-2011 13:55 BJT

OTTAWA, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) -- The Greek government should immediately implement the eurozone bailout plan, rather than delay for months while the country holds a referendum over the plan, Canadian finance minister Jim Flaherty said Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters after testifying at a parliamentary committee meeting, Flaherty said Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou needs to stop "foot dragging," adding that the Greek government's plan for a referendum creates uncertainty and puts the entire global economy at risk.

"It's not for us to dictate terms to the Europeans - it is for us to say that delay endangers the global economy. We have interdependent economies in this world. What affects Europe, affects the United States, affects Canada ... this kind of turmoil in Europe is not good for anyone around the world. Our point is let's get to the conclusion," Flaherty said.

Flaherty's remarks were at odds with comments made earlier in the day by Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney.

Carney said the Greek government will need widespread public support to implement what he called "tough decisions" that the Greeks will need to make if the Eurozone rescue plan is to work.

Austerity measures taken by the Greeks have already been met with riots and tax-dodging.

"If it's the judgment of the Greek government that this is the best approach to validate that support, we fully respect that," Carney told the House of Commons Finance Committee Tuesday.

Speaking to the same committee a few hours later, Flaherty said he does not expect to go into recession. He told the committee that the Canadian economy will grow in this quarter and is expected to expand in the third quarter of this fiscal year.

He said he expects further economic shrinkage in the eurozone.

"That is not true in this country," he said. "Canada is doing relatively well and I'll continue to rely on the private sector economists with respect to economic forecasts."

"The economic forecasts that we make are based on the average of 15 private sector economists," he said. "They agreed that the forecasts we are using are a reasonable basis for fiscal planning in Canada. Other people have other views from time to time."

Speaking to reporters after the committee, Flaherty said a decision by Greek Prime Minister Papandreou to put his country's austerity measures to a referendum concerns him.

He said any delay concerns him and pointed out -- as he has for months -- that the G20 finance ministers have been talking about Greece's money problems since January 2010.

"I encourage all the participants to get on with it, to get to the implementation of the agreements that have been reached. Delay is not helpful and I hope we'll be able to advance that cause at the G20 meetings over the next few days," Flaherty said.

"I would encourage the Europeans to get to conclusions and implementation. This is very important. We already see some reactions in the markets that are not good. And this is the kind of thing that happens when there is extraordinary delay, as there has been."

Flaherty will meet his G20 counterparts in Cannes, France, this week to discuss ways of defusing the economic problems in Europe and the United States.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: Xinhua

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