"Let me be very explicit: we demand no additional money. We stand by our commitments," Antonis Samaras said in an interview for the German newspaper Bild. "But we have to kick-start growth in order to cut our deficit. All that we want is a little 'breathing space' to revive the economy quickly and raise state income."
On Tuesday Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras presented before PM Samaras a package of public spending cuts worth 13.5 billion euro, explaining that they would be implemented gradually in order to diminish their severity. It is an ambitious plan as initially the EU, ECB and the IMF required only 11.5 billion euros of austerity measures. However, according to Der Spiegel, the preliminary report from Troika inspectors' latest visit to Athens points to a 14 billion euro shortfall. They will determine the exact amount needed when they return to Greece in September.
A positive assessment of Greek austerity efforts is a condition for the release of the next, 31.5 billion euro tranche of EU aid, without which the country might soon default and eventually even leave the Eurozone.