Greece’s deficit and debt higher than previous estimates

Greece’s budget deficit and debt level in 2009 are both higher than earlier estimates, according to figures published by the European Union (EU) statistical bureau Eurostat on Monday. Greece’s budget deficit ran to 15.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) from the earlier estimated 13.6 percent, while its debt level rose to 126.8 percent of GDP from 115.4 percent.

“The new starting point for the 2009 deficit reveals the magnitude of the unprecedented fiscal effort made by the Greek government in 2010,” the Greek finance ministry said in a written statement released shortly afterwards.

The statement said that the 2010 deficit resulting from the new revised figures and general government accounts after the reclassification is estimated to be 9.4 percent of GDP.

According to the bailout package signed with the EU and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Greece agreed to cut its deficit to below 3 percent in 2014. The revised deficit and debt figures will put more pressure on the Greek government in its austerity efforts.

But the Greek finance ministry said: “Fiscal consolidation will continue within the targets and the framework of the Economic and Financial Programme agreed with the EU, European Central Bank and IMF leading to a fiscal deficit below 3 percent of GDP in 2014.”

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