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Juncker gives Greece ultimatum

By Reuters

Greece must take further measures to reduce the deficit or it will face sanctions, Eurogroup Chairman Jean-Claude Juncker was quoted as saying by a Greek newspaper.

Greece has until March 16 to convince EU finance ministers and the executive European Commission that proposed measures to cut its budget shortfall this year to 8.7 per cent of gross domestic product from 12.7 per cent in 2009 are sufficient.

"Greece must intensify its efforts and move to further actions to reduce its deficit," Juncker, who heads the Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers, told Eleftherotypia newspaper.

"If it doesn't convince us then it will possibly face sanctions. Greece must understand that the taxpayers in Germany, Belgium or Luxembourg are not ready to fix the mistakes of Greece's fiscal policy," Juncker said.

"Euro zone finance ministers have agreed that more efforts are required from Greece," he said. Juncker, who is also Luxembourg's Prime Minister, said euro zone finance ministers had discussed ways to help Greece.

"Luxembourg is also ready to help Greece on a bilateral level, if Athens asks for it. We must first be convinced that the measures are serious and tough. The Greek Government must focus on further spending reduction and on the ways to increase revenues," he said.


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