Washington.- Interviewed by Larry Kudlow on CNBC’s primetime “The Kudlow Report,” (June 22, 2011), Greek Ambassador Vassilis Kaskarelis focused on the Greek economy and recent political developments in Greece.
“It’s not a bailout” by the IMF and the EU, noted the Ambassador right at the outset, in response to Mr. Ludlow’s question as to why American taxpayers should spend money through the IMF to bail out Greece. “It is a loan,” emphasized the Ambassador, a loan at a high interest rate, almost twice that of the markets, and which Greece is repaying.
Mr. Kaskarelis underlined that both the people and the Government of Greece are expanding tremendous effort so that the country will overcome its problems. He noted that during this last year, very strict and harsh austerity measures and laws were adopted and implemented in order to reduce debt and improve reliability of the Greek market. These measures include significant decreases in salaries and pensions, an increase of the retirement age, restructuring of local government and reduction of the number of municipalities, among others.
Explaining the harshness of the measures, Ambassador Kaskarelis remarked that during his daily contacts with members of Congress and congressional staff, he has repeatedly heard that if such measures were implemented in the U.S., which faces similarly acute economic problems, there would be a revolt.
Mr. Kaskarelis further explained that the slower pace of reforms in the last 3-4 months, due to the fatigue of the people, brought on by the harsh austerity measures, unemployment, recession and painful changes in people’s daily lives.
The Greek Ambassador expressed his confidence that the renewed intensive efforts resumed by the Greek Government, following the recent vote of confidence in Parliament, and with the support of the Greek people, will slowly but steadily lead the country out of the crisis.
The Ambassador’s interview, which can be seen on the link below, was rebroadcast by dozens of video sites and local channels throughout the U.S.