Tuesday Jul 24, 201204:55 PM GMT
Greek recession to be worse than expected: prime minister
Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras speaks to members of his conservative party at the parliament in Athens on July 24, 2012.
Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras speaks to members of his conservative party at the parliament in Athens on July 24, 2012.
Tue Jul 24, 2012 3:40PM
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They undermine Greek efforts. We do what we can to get the country back on its feet and they do what they can for us to fail."

The Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samara

The Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samara has warned that the country’s recession this year could be much worse than expected, saying the economy could shrink by "more than seven percent".


Speaking to conservative lawmakers on Tuesday, Samaras said the primary goal of his government “is to stop the recession and start with recovery" as unemployment nears 24 percent.

The premier said Greece remained committed to the terms of two EU-IMF bailout packages despite delays.

"We need to make up for these delays fast," Samaras said.

The prime minister criticized foreign officials who predict that Greece will not be able to stay in the Euro currency bloc and call their comments as "irresponsible."

"They undermine Greek efforts. We do what we can to get the country back on its feet and they do what they can for us to fail," he added.

Auditors from the so-called troika of Greek creditors -- European Union, International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank -- return to Athens on Tuesday to grill the government about the implementation of unpopular austerity measures
.
The audit will determine whether Greece would be competent to receive fresh loans of 31.5 billion euros ($38 billion) by September.

Greece has been at the epicenter of the eurozone debt crisis and is experiencing its fifth year of recession because of the government-introduced harsh austerity measures.

The measures have left over a million people without jobs over the past years while Athens has continuously struggled to meet the fiscal targets in its rescue loan agreements.

The country has been the scene of numerous nationwide strikes and protests by the sacked workers, low-income workers and the students who have suffered the most as a result of the awful economic situation of the cash-stripped country.

PG/JR/IS
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