Barroso backs Greek measures to reduce budget deficit

President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso expressed on Tuesday support for the measures Greece proposed to take to reduce its excessive budget deficit, but warned that there were still risks.

“The envisaged correction of the deficit is feasible but subject to risks,” he told reporters one day before the Commission pronounces on the plan Greece has submitted to solve the crisis.

Barroso said that the huge Greek government deficit for 2009 came to a surprise to everybody and a deficit of such a magnitude “must be decisively corrected.”

He said that Greece was determined to correct its excessive deficit and adopted a program in mid-January to bring the deficit below 3 percent of GDP in 2012.

“Provided such risks will not be allowed to materialize through the timely implementation of corrective measures the deficit will indeed be corrected,” the president said.
According to Barroso, the Commission will be in charge of monitoring the implementation of the program through a very intense surveillance of budgetary developments in Greece.
He underlined that “a successful correction of its very excessive deficit is not only important for Greece but for the euro area and the EU as a whole.”

Greece’s public deficit is estimated to reach 12.7 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) in 2009, far above the accepted ceiling of 3 percent of the European Union (EU).
Up to now, 20 EU member states are in excessive deficit procedures. These countries have to bring their budget deficit back under the 3-percent target between 2011 and 2015.

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