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It’s the first major task of Greece’s new national unity government – submitting the country’s draft 2012 austerity budget to meet the terms of an international bailout and avoid bankruptcy.
The new government is aiming for a primary surplus next year, when the cost of debt maintenance is excluded.
“The 2012 budget can, under certain terms and conditions – if we are serious, united and reliable – be the budget that will begin to turn things around for this country.”
Assuming a planned debt swap goes ahead – whereby private stakeholders accept losses on their debt holdings of 50% – Greece is forecasting a budget deficit next year of 5.4% of GDP.
If the debt swap doesn’t go ahead, the deficit is expected to hit 6.7%. And Greece’s debt load will hit almost 200% of GDP.
Greek Finance Minister, Evangelos Venizelos, also said there would be no new tax hikes or wage and pension cuts, if measures passed by the previous government are carried out.
These include tackling tax evasion, selling off public companies and laying off public sector workers.
Lawmakers will begin debating the draft budget next week.
Bottom line: Greece forecasts budget deficit of 5.4% for 2012, if debt swap goes ahead as planned.