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PM Lucas Papademos' Interview on CNBC

Wednesday, 08 February 2012

Prime Minister Lucas Papademos expressed optimism regarding the course of negotiations on Greek bond swaps and took straight aim at those who suggest Greece should abandon the euro and return to the drachma in order to solve the country’s fiscal crisis. "This is really not an option," Papademos said, speaking to CNBC television.

In his first and only interview since taking office, Papademos referred to the next few weeks which are particularly challenging for Greece, because the government must conclude talks on the voluntary restructuring of Greek debt, the so-called PSI process, and at the same time formulate a new economic adjustment program for the period 2012-2015. If the country succeeds in completing these two processes on time, it will be eligible for financing by its European partners and the IMF. "That will provide a very good basis for the completion of the economic adjustment programme over the next three years, and we believe we'll be more than half-way towards taking the bold steps necessary to restore competitiveness and move in the direction of sustainable debt," Papademos noted.

As regards the debate on Greece abandoning the euro, he pointed out that "I am personally convinced, and I think the Greek people share this in a fundamental way, that we can achieve fiscal consolidation more effectively and restore competitiveness in a more fundamental and permanent way within the Euro Area than outside it."

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