Eurogroup chief 'totally opposed' to Greek eurozone exit
Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers said Wednesday that he was "totally opposed" to Greece being forced out of the 17-nation bloc.world Updated: Aug 22, 2012 22:57 IST
Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers said on Wednesday that he was "totally opposed" to Greece being forced out of the 17-nation bloc.
Juncker added that the Greek government's "priority number one is the consolidation of the public finances, (along with) a robust and credible strategy for closing the mid term gap" in its debt-laden accounts.
Following reported comments by Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras that he needed "breathing space" to get Greece's recession-hit economy going, and thus a longer deadline to meet conditions agreed with international creditors, Juncker said that would depend on a report to be drawn up by experts.
"As regards the lengthening of the adjustment period, it will depend on the findings of the troika mission," Juncker said in reference to auditors from the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund.
Earlier on Wednesday, Juncker told RTL television in Luxembourg: "There will be no decision on Greece before the month of October", as officials in Athens worked to obtain a fresh installment of financial aid valued at 31.5 billion euros ($39 billion).
In an interview with the popular German daily Bild, Samaras said Greece needed more time to make spending cuts and reforms that are a condition for the next tranche of the country's EU-IMF rescue package.
"All we want is a little 'breathing space' to revive the economy quickly and raise state income," Samaras told Bild.
"Let me be very clear. We are not asking for additional money. We are sticking by our commitments and are meeting all our requirements," he underlined.