wolfgang gives \confidence vote\ in greek efforts to exit crisis urges for more
Last Updated : GMT 14:09:07
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Wolfgang gives \'confidence vote\' in Greek efforts to exit crisis, urges for more

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Wolfgang gives \'confidence vote\' in Greek efforts to exit crisis, urges for more

Athens - XINHUA

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble gave a \"vote of confidence\" in Greece\'s efforts to overcome the debt crisis during his one- day visit to Athens on Thursday. He urged Greeks however not to back track from the painful austerity and reform path in order to ensure further aid by international creditors and achieve economic recovery soon. The German official dismissed the idea of an imminent new \"haircut\" on Greece\'s debt load as \"counterproductive\" discussion which \"is not in Greece\'s interest\", delivering a speech at an event organized by the Greek- German trade chamber shortly before his meeting with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. But, he left open the possibility of further international support to Greece in 2014 on the condition that the country first fulfills its commitments to European Union and International Monetary Fund creditors and posts primary surplus. Finally, he announced Germany\'s immediate contribution to a new investment fund which will be providing loans to finance Greek small and medium-sized enterprises hit by recession. The deal is expected to be signed off at the Greek Finance Ministry before his departure from the Greek capital later on Thursday. \"The only path to reach sustainable growth is to boost Greek economy\'s competitiveness and reverse unemployment by continuing on the fiscal adjustment process decisively to reach the final goal. There is not an easy way around this. We know that well, because we used to be the sick man of Europe,\" Schaeuble said, addressing the event. The German official noted that reforms in Greece are showing signs of success, but underlined that \"much work remains to be done.\" Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras welcomed him to Greece, taking the floor, and called for the strengthening of the \"political and economic unification\" in the European Union in order to tackle the financial crisis and restore growth across the continent. \"We welcome German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble. Things that unite us are far more than those which divide us,\" he stressed. On his part, Greek Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis said that Greece is determined to win the difficult battle it gives over the past few years, adding that the country \"needs European partners\' solidarity.\" During talks with Samaras, according to Greek government sources, Schaeuble reiterated Germany\'s willingness to offer further support to Greek government\'s and peoples\' efforts to tackle the current financial woes which brought the country at the brink of a chaotic bankruptcy. On the agenda of the German official\'s talks with Greece\'s political leadership throughout the day are ways to enhance bilateral cooperation. The establishment of a Growth Investment Bank in which Germany will participate through the state-run KfW Bank with an initial capital of some 100 million euros (131 million U.S. dollars), according to sources, is regarded as a tangible step towards this direction. Schaeuble\'s visit to Athens and the pledges of further aid have not been met with enthusiasm by all Greeks. Police have banned public gatherings and cordoned off a major part of the city centre for \"precautionary security reasons,\" as it happened during German Chancellor\'s visit to Greece last October. Several protesters on the streets of Athens over the past three years put a large share of the blame for their suffering from austerity to Merkel\'s and Schaeuble\'s insistence on tough cuts on salaries and tax hikes which have fuelled unemployment, recession and misery. On Wednesday evening thousands of Greeks were protesting outside the parliament building, as the legislators ratified a new round of harsh measures, including mass dismissals in public services in order to ensure the flow of further bailout loans to the country this summer.

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