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EU to police Greek austerity plan

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EU to police Greek austerity plan

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Greece is set to face the strictest monitoring of any European member state as it seeks to get to grips with its bulging deficit.

The EU has backed Athens’ rigorous austerity plans but says it will put in place stringent surveillance measures to ensure Greece’s government does not break its promises.

The EU commissioner for economic and monetary affairs Joaquin Almunia said: “We know that the implementation of this programme is not easy. It’s a difficult implementation, so this deserves support but at the same time we need to
strengthen our instruments to monitor how the programme is implemented.”

Earlier this week the government of George Panpandreou put forward proposals aimed at slashing Greece’s budget shortfall from 12.7 percent to under three percent by 2012.

The Greek premier has urged the country to back the plan, which includes cutting the public sector wage bill. Further fiscal adjustments could be needed if the EU demands it.

Polls suggest around two thirds of Greeks support the government’s handling of the economy, even though some unions have called for strikes later this month.