Hardouvelis Says Future at Stake

ATHENS – Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis said that Greece’s future will be shaped by the end of the year but that it still has the support of Europe while continuing reforms.

“The next few months will determine the coming decade in Greece,” he said in an address to the 2nd Annual Economic Congress of the Hellenic Association of Entrepreneurs (EENE).

Hardouvelis said: “My contacts with my European colleagues have convinced me that everyone wants Greece to succeed and therefore they will support the Greek government. It also goes without saying that the government will continue to implement reforms that further boost the long-term prospects of the economy.”

His comments came as Greece’s international lenders left Athens without a deal on some 700 unfinished reforms and as the last of 240 billion euros ($317 billion) in two bailouts for the country is running out, leaving Greece to borrow from the markets.

Discussing what’s at stake, he said that, We need to have confidence in and commitment to the plan we have drafted. We must not backtrack… There are just a few things left for us to do before we can stand on our own feet, which should not only be everyone’s aim but also the only way toward recovery. It is this final stretch… which will determine what happens in the future.”

Hardouvelis said Greece has to shift from austerity toward growth and luring investment and completing reforms to revamp the economic structure of a country that is service-driven and that the pace of privatization must be accelerated.