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Greece sees higher budget surplus but lenders fail to approve forecast

Greece sees higher budget surplus but lenders fail to approve forecast
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The Greek government has unveiled a new 2014 budget which predicts a bigger-than-expected primary surplus and lower unemployment.

In a revised budget plan, Athens confirmed it would emerge from a six-year recession with growth of 0.6 percent next year. The economy has shrunk by nearly a quarter since 2008 as it grappled with a deep financial crisis.

Greece’s Deputy Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said: “Citizens are making and have made tremendous sacrifices, in terms of fiscal adjustment and in terms of living standards. These sacrifices have started to be felt, creating the first signs of the country’s exit from the crisis.”

After nearly going bankrupt and crashing out of the euro zone last year, Greece has been lifted by more positive economic news in recent months, including a bumper tourism season.

But our correspondent says the plan has not been approved by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund amid ongoing talks over whether Athens will be granted more leeway on its debts next year.

“The Greek government presented the 2014 budget aiming for there to be no interventions or amendments. But this will depend on the outcome of the negotiations with the troika, that will resume again at the beginning of December,” said Symela Touchtidou.