Vienna, 14 December 2012 Fekter: "Eurozone slightly more stable" Banking union and rescue umbrella making a substantial contribution to Eurozone stabilization

"Following the decisions last night on a common European banking union under the overall auspices of the ECB and with the rescue umbrella of the ESM, which is able to resolve fiscal problems, we have a solid foundation," declared Finance Minister Dr Maria Fekter on the periphery of the euro groups in Brussels.

However, Fekter advised caution: "The individual problems in the indebted countries will be with us for a while yet." "We have agreed that Greece will receive further aid funds totalling EUR 53 billion," she reported. "The Greek government has made particular efforts, and for this reason, the second tranche of the second aid programme will be paid out in several stages," she continued. The amount – EUR 53 billion, of which EUR 34 billion will be paid immediately and EUR 19 billion later – is significantly higher than the EUR 44 billion originally announced, and Fekter explains this thus: "We have arranged a debt buyback which also had to be financed. This means that Greece's debts are now significantly lower and sustainable. The IMF considered this to be particularly important."

Fekter was critical of the fact that the Income Tax Act had not yet come before Parliament. "Greek tax revenues are not yet as abundant as we expected. However, the Greek Finance Minister has promised that negotiations on this are already at an advanced stage. As a result of the funds being released in stages, we are indeed able to monitor this process further," explained Fekter.

"Our prime objective is to ensure that, at the end of the day, the Greek people can stand on their own feet again. For this reason, debts must be reduced to 124% of GDP. That is still a lot, but with successively enhanced primary surpluses, Greece can make it," affirmed Fekter. "Whether subsequent adjustment will be needed or whether we are within the programme plan, is something we will find out in 2015/2016," she concluded.