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13 October, 1998
National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou yesterday welcomed Ecofin's recommendation, which he said showed that the government's target was feasible of joining the euro, the EU's single currency, by January 1, 2001.
"The recommendation represents a message of confidence towards Greece and towards international markets," Mr. Papantoniou told reporters in Luxembourg.
The rate of economic growth, forecast at 4.5 percent of gross domestic product in 2001, showed that convergence with other EU members would be achieved in real, not merely nominal terms, he said.
In addition, approval of the alignment plan represented confirmation of the government's target of 2.0 percent inflation at the end of 1999.
If growth fell short of targets, then the government might take corrective measures, the minister said.
Outgoing German Economics Minister Theo Waigel said that the government needed to step up its drive towards stabilization and EMU entry in order to offset any deviation from growth targets.
At the same time, Ecofin's endorsement of the plan represented recognition of the government's effort to enter the final phase of EMU, Mr. Waigel told a news conference.
The EU's commissioner for financial and monetary affairs, Yves Thibault de Silguy, told a separate news conference that Greece's convergence plan was based on data that was "ambitious but not unrealistic."
Source: Athens News Agency