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article imageEU President: Greece must 'deliver, deliver, deliver'

By Larry Clifton     Jul 26, 2012 in Politics
Athens - EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso left little doubt that Greece will have to heed Austerity agreements and implement them right away during his visit to Athens today.
Barroso told Greece's new coalition government Thursday to "deliver, deliver, deliver" on promises for cost-cutting reforms, as the country's finances came under renewed scrutiny from international debt inspectors, according to a report.
Barroso made clear the notion that Greece must carry out the reforms if it wishes to continue receiving financial support from other eurozone members. After a meeting with conservative Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, Barroso said: "The prime minister has assured me that the coalition government will respect commitments ... and will speed up the key structural reforms that are needed, including privatization and of course reforms in the public administration."
However Barroso was quick to add, “But promises, are not enough.” "The key word here is deliver - deliver, deliver, deliver. The main issue is implementation to deliver results," he said. "To maintain the trust of European and international partners, the delays must end."
Meanwhile, the heads of an inspection team from the troika of the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank also arrived in the Greek capital to inspect the country's shaky public finances and the future of its rescue loan program.
Thursday, the inspectors also met for more than two hours with Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras.
"We always raise the question of an extension, and did so today, too," said the official, responded a senior ministry official who spoke only on condition of anonymity.
Parties in the month-old Greek government have finalized proposals to slash (EURO)11.5 billion ($14.1 billion) in government spending over two years - with much of additional cuts set to come from capping pensions and benefits, and savings from public health agency mergers.
Socialist party leader Evangelos Venizelos, a coalition partner, urged Greece's critics in the EU not to let the country fall out of the euro currency union.
"If there are those - and I'm afraid they do exist - who believe Greece should be sacrificed ... to put the wind back in the sails of the eurozone, they are making a very big mistake," Venizelos said. "It would be suicide for the eurozone."
Greeks have been subjected to harsh cuts in pensions and salaries, coupled with repeated tax increases, for more than two and a half years, however the Greek economy has continued in a downhill slide.
Analyst Martin Koehring, from the Economist Intelligence Unit, said Samaras' government faces major political risks as it has promised to renegotiate the bailout terms.
"If it fails to deliver, there will be a rising risk that the government may fail and be replaced by an anti-austerity, left-wing government that could take Greece out of the euro area," he said in an e-mailed commentary.
Koehring said that Greece is already missing more than 200 of its bailout targets.
The troika will return to Athens in September to make a final decision on whether to disburse billions in approved bail-out money.
More about EU Greece bailout, Areopoli, José Manuel Barroso, EU president José Manuel Barroso
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