4 Feb 2010

Stringent monitoring of Greece vowed by EU

10:46 am on 4 February 2010

Greece is to face the most stringent monitoring of any European Union country as it attempts to balance its finances over the next few years.

However, EU economic commissioner Joaquín Almunia has dismissed concerns that Greece's fiscal problems require a bailout by the EU.

The BBC reports Greece is struggling with its worst economic crisis since joining the euro in 2001.

The deficit is more than four times higher than eurozone rules allow.

Under a long-term deficit cutting plan, the government aims to reduce the budget shortfall, currently 12.7%, to less than 3% by 2012, but many people in Brussels and beyond remain sceptical.

The programme includes pay cuts, pension reforms and rises in tax.