Greece honors ex-Eurogroup chief, rules out more austerity | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 11.06.2013
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Greece honors ex-Eurogroup chief, rules out more austerity

The Greek government has honored the former head of the Eurogroup by awarding him the country's highest order of merit for his role in the nation's bailout. Athens positioned itself against more austerity.

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Tuesday awarded the former chief of the Eurogroup, Jean-Claude Juncker, with the Order of the Redeemer, pointing out the latter's role in keeping Greece in the eurozone.

"He's one of us," Samaras said, adding that Juncker had stood at the side of the Greeks throughout the protracted negotiations on how to rescue the country from bankruptcy.

During his visit to Athens, Juncker for his part said that in his former position as head of the group of eurozone finance ministers he had also made mistakes by providing "overly optimistic" assessments of Greece's ability to get back on its feet in the early stages of the bailout process.

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Financial inspectors return to Greece

The Greek Prime Minister said Tuesday he ruled out even more austerity measures in response to the failed privatization of national gas company DEPA.

In a shock for the country's revenue-raising drive, Russian energy giant Gazprom on Monday withdrew its interest in buying the firm, leaving Athens with no serious bidder.

International auditors from the European Union, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are back in Greece to monitor the government's endeavors to meet the savings targets set by creditors.

The lenders are expected to press Greece into fast-tracking a delayed plan to dismiss thousands of civil servants by the end of the year.

Shares at the Athens Stock Exchange suffered more heavy losses in Tuesday afternoon trading, with the benchmark index down by another 5 percent.

hg/ipj (dpa, AP)

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