EurActiv.com Correspondent's Choice

This article about Greek finances was published by EurActiv on 17th February 2010.

EU finance ministers have given Greece a month to convince the European Union – and financial markets – that emergency measures to tackle its growing deficits will put the country on the road to recovery. The ministers reiterated their support for Greece, but played their cards very close to their chests.

EU finance ministers gathered in Brussels yesterday to formalise a timetable for the Greek government to reduce its budget deficit from 12.7% to 3% by 2012.

Athens’ problems overshadowed other items on the agenda, such as the EU’s Services Directive or talks on a European bank levy.

The ministers agreed to give Greece until 16 March to present a report on new budgetary measures to be implemented over the course of 2010.

By 15 May, the country will have to flesh out the detail of those measures and submit quarterly reports thereafter.

The Greek recovery plan will hinge on a report to be submitted in March. If the European Commission thinks the Greek authorities are not on track, they will be expected to come up with additional measures.

The Greek finance minister confirmed that he would not yet offer anything more than the public sector wage cuts and tax reforms already on the table, but admitted he would develop additional solutions if asked to do so in March.

As a back-up plan, member states also stressed that they would offer support to the Greek economy if needed, as agreed by EU leaders on 11 February.

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