Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou refused to comment Tuesday on reports that Austria might withhold its contribution to the country’s E110 billion aid deal.
“I will not comment on the specific comments,” Papaconstantinou told reporters as he arrived for the meeting of Eurozone Finance Ministers.
Earlier Tuesday the Austrian government released a statement saying it might withhold its next transfer of loans to Greece because the country is not sticking to a plan agreed with its Eurozone partners and the IMF.
Greece signed on to a E110 billion loan package earlier this year and in return agreed to a strict austerity package which would see it slash its budget deficit below the EU’s 3% limit by 2014.
“As you know, with Eurostat’s announcement on Monday, Eurostat waves all reservations” about Greek data, the Minister said. The EU statistics agency revised up its estimate of Greece’s 2009 budget deficit to 15.4% of GDP from 13.6%.
Papaconstantinou noted that this meant his government was: “starting from a higher point” in its consolidation plan.
He added: “Greece did the biggest consolidation effort in the European Union this year. It is on track to cut its budget deficit by six percentage points”.
Finance Ministers from the 16 Eurozone countries are arriving for a regular meeting with European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet and European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn.
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