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FINMIN STOURNARAS: GREECE CAN RETURN TO MARKETS IN 2014

FinMin Stournaras

"We will return to the markets in 2014 under two conditions: that we have a primary surplus and a positive growth rate for even one quarter," said Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras in an interview to the Sunday newspaper 'Realnews'. Stournaras warned, however, that the situation was currently very fragile and "a small mistake would be enough to bring down what we have built with hard work."

Stournaras said that he was not worried that the Greek economy might backslide, however. "I am not afraid because I have confidence in Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who is watching everything closely and steps in whenever necessary," he said, adding that the only thing that would frighten him is "a negative development in one of the three parties that support the coalition government".

He expressed his optimism that a reduction in VAT for restaurants and catering services will be applied in June, adding that it is a 'just demand' but ruled out any possibility of a reduction in heating oil tax, noting that any drop in the tax on heating oil will lead to the rise in the contraband fuel trade.

Responding to his critics, the finance minister stressed that he was "here to stay." "I am not expendable, as a public figure, I am open to criticism when it is fair. I will not tolerate strikes below the belt [...] I will complete my mission whether they like it or not."

Source: Athens News Agency

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