September 27th, 2011

Greek Finance Minister to CNN: Greece on right track

CNN’s John Defterios spoke exclusively to Greece’s Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos in Athens today about his country’s debt dealings.

Venizelos told Defterios “the Greek people are absolutely ready to accept very strong sacrifices” in order to reestablish national dignity and fiscal and financial independence.

Full transcript after the jump.
John Defterios, CNN anchor: The first thing that I’ve wanted to talk to you about, Minister, is the work that you have done over the last weeks -specifically with additional pension cuts and the salary cuts. Has Greece earned the support now of the troika to get the 6th tranche on time in your view?

Evangelos Venizelos, Greek Finance Minister: Our decision, our determination, is to fulfill our obligations, our duties because for us the main target now is to go ahead. It is absolutely necessary for us to reestablish the national dignity and our fiscal and financial independence. Because of that, the Greek people are absolutely ready to accept very strong sacrifices. On the other hand, Eurozone, I believe, is always ready to take the necessary decisions because we need a very-well organized system for the self-protection of the Eurozone and the Euro as a common currency.

In this framework, I am absolutely optimistic about the sixth disbursement and also about the implementation of the so-called “new program,” always in reference to the terms of the famous decision of July 21.

Defterios: So there is not a new program, so we can clarify for everyone, taking shape for a 50% “haircut”. There is not a new program not just for Greece but for peripheral countries of Europe, to reshape and provide a 50% “haircut” on government debt.

Venizelos: I am the responsible Minister of Finance of Greece. I am here in order to apply and to implement our joint European decision of July. Not to participate in different irresponsible discussions, or in order to repeat rumors or comments. For me, the only duty, the only path, is to implement the decision of July 21. The decision including the PSI, the existing Private Sector Involvement. Greece is an integral and permanent part of the Eurozone and the Euro. It is absolutely unacceptable to discuss about deviations of so-called “defaults” for a member-state of Eurozone and the Euro. It is absolutely unacceptable.

Defterios: Minister, with all due respect, that is not a denial. So there is not a new program taking shape.

Venizelos: This is a preamble, if I may use this term, of the new program. The sixth disbursement is the bridging between the old program, the initial Greek loan facility and the next program. Our work with the troika, the last -very strong and difficult- decisions of the Greek government and the Greek Parliament, is the necessary bridging between the old and the new program. But finally, the goal is a single, very clear and very ambitious target: to reestablish the dignity and the financial independence and sovereignty of our country.