Page last updated at 23:16 GMT, Monday, 15 February 2010

Greece 'may cut spending further'

Eurozone chief Jean-Claude Juncker
Mr Juncker says Greece has been given until 16 March

Greece could unveil more cost-cutting proposals if its current efforts do not work fast enough, the head of the 16-nation eurozone has said.

Jean-Claude Juncker said Greece had agreed to outline additional measures in March if necessary.

His comments came following a meeting of eurozone finance ministers.

However, Mr Juncker also said the nations sharing the single currency would not be revealing details of their planned bail-out for Greece.

He said it would be "unwise" to discuss what was being prepared at this stage.

'Stand determined'

Greece is seeking a financial rescue package from fellow eurozone members as it tries to reduce its giant public deficit from 12.7% - more than four times what single currency rules allow.

It has pledged to reduce this to 8.7% during 2010 under an austerity plan that involves major cuts in public spending.

Mr Juncker, who is also Luxembourg's prime minister, said further cost-cutting would be needed if Greece's debt reduction plans were not shown to be on target by 16 March.

"It's up to Greece to consolidate its public finances, it's up to the euro area to stand determined [in case more is required of Athens]," he said.

Mr Juncker also said that the Greek government may have to present "revenue-increasing measures" - tax rises.

Greece's Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou had earlier said he wanted the other eurozone nations to release details of their planned bail-out for his country.

He said this was needed to ease market fears that the country could default on its debts.

Eurozone leaders pledged last Thursday to support the country, but stopped short of detailing any exact proposals.



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